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The Sandman’s School of Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Have you been flunking out in Baby Sleep School? Are you obsessed with getting baby to sleep through the night, but experiencing nothing but failures?

Maybe it’s not you.  (Phew!)

Maybe you’ve just been listening to the wrong teacher. Who could be a better sleep teacher than Mr. Sandman himself?

Fortunately for you, he owes me a favor.

Here are his five simple lessons for snoozing baby all-night bliss. So, class, take out your No. 2 pencils and an extra bag of sleeping sand.

There may (or may not) be an exam at the end. So look sharp!

*rapping on desk with yardstick*  

STOP! Do Not Proceed If…

  • Your baby is younger than 16 weeks.  Newborns 0-4 weeks can focus on finding baby’s natural rhythm, while 2-3 month olds should go with this.
  • If your baby is sick or teething.  Snuggle her through it, and then try these tips when she’s healthy.
  • Your baby struggles with acid reflux.  Get the reflux under control first, then work on sleep coaching.
  • Your doctor has not given you the thumbs up towards sleep coaching.  Keep a 48-feeding log to share with your pediatrician.  He can then decide if your baby is getting enough calories during the day to start night weaning, or if one or two night feedings are still necessary.
  • You are going on vacation later this week.  Especially for the first 4-5 nights, you need a consistent evening at home with no traveling or major transitions.
  • You switched formula this week.  Allow your baby at least a week to get used to the new formula and make sure there aren’t any tummy issues before proceeding with sleep coaching.

Mr. Sandman’s Advice on
Handling Hysterics

At some point, your baby is going to get very VERY angry with you.

There is crying…and then there is hysterical crying.

The first is a pout: It’s like he’s saying “I don’t like this”.

The second is rage: It’s like he’s saying, “There’s no way in hellenski I’m going to nod off.  You. Can’t. Make. Me.”

The first one can be overcome with patient endurance, but the second will require an intervention.

Here’s how to handle hysterical crying: 

  • Pick him up until he’s calm, as briefly as possible.  Then put him down again while he’s still awake.
  • Shhhh-shush him and make other soothing sounds.
  • Don’t talk to him too much.
  • If you do walk him around to calm him down, stay in the nursery.  Don’t leave the room.
  • When he’s calm, give him a kissy, put him back in the crib and sit down next to him.

The Sleep Lady says… “If you pick him up and he’s immediately calm, you’ve been “had”.  Instead of you training him to sleep, he’s trained YOU to pick him up.  Wait a little longer next time.  Trust your instincts and your knowledge of this child.  You’ll know within a night or two whether picking him up helps or further stimulates him.”  

Getting Your Baby Sleeping Through
the Night with the Truffle Sleep Shuffle

(Oh….the truffle shuffle.  Such memories….)

The following steps are from my favorite sleep coaching book of all time, Good Night Sleep Tight.  If you don’t own a copy of this book, you really need to pick one up.  

This method is my favorite because it empowers parents to be parents, while at the same time offers the gentle reassurances that babies need so much.

Here are five steps to get your baby into a regular routine of sleeping through the night.  Usually parents transition to each step every 3-4 days.  However, if your baby seems to be “getting it” a lot sooner, go ahead and move the timetable up.

If you’re following her method, and still struggling to see results, meet with myself or Gentle Sleep Coach Amy Estell. We can go over your sleep log and help you identify where there may be holes.  OR we can evaluate your baby’s personality and your unique parenting style, and perhaps suggest a different sleep coaching technique that may work better. Click here to learn more about signing up for a Sleep Session. 

What About Weaning Off Night Feedings?

If your doctor has given you permission to wean off some night feedings, you don’t have to cut out those feedings cold-turkey.  There are gentle ways to wean him off those extra feedings.  It’s one of the major skills we teach in our Sleep Sessions or with our Full Coaching clients.

On the other hand, there’s no requirement that your baby be completely off night feedings in order to sleep coach.  If you decide to keep a feeding or two past 6 months, that’s totally okay.

It’s 100% possible to sleep coach your baby and still keep night feedings.  Sign up for a session or let us help you (and get our 110% Sleep Guarantee) and we’ll talk through the process together.

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson One

For nights 1 -3, follow your regular evening routine using tricks like these, getting him drowsy and sleepy, but not sleep-ing. Then pull up a chair to sit next to her in the crib.  (Right next to the crib.)

Chances are she’s going to fuss about this new arrangement.  So, on occasion, reach over and pat or stroke her through the crib.

The key here is to control the touch – so that she is comforted when you touch her, but doesn’t become dependent on your touch to go to sleep.  If you let her hold your finger while she falls asleep, she’ll just wake up when you take your finger away.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep.  

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Two

On the fourth night (through the 6th night), move your chair halfway to the door.  (If your nursery room is teeny, skip to Step Three.)

Continue with the comforting shushing sounds you made before.  Only get up to stroke him if it’s absolutely necessary.  Picking him up should only happen if he hits the “hysterical cry” stage.

By this point, you should have a better idea of what comforts him, and what stimulates him.  Some babies actually do better if you don’t touch them at all.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until he has fallen completely asleep.

Cameron  & Heather’s Secret Weapon:   When it came to the “I want this and you’re saying no and that makes me upset” kind of cry, we found ear plugs were invaluable.  They took the sharp edge off and helped us stay consistent in our resolve of “I know you don’t like this, but it’s best.”  I recommend these corded ear plugs, they won’t become a choking hazard if left out.

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Three

Starting on night seven, move the chair to the dim doorway inside the room, with the door open.  Occasionally shush her as a verbal reminder that you are with her in the room.

Stay until she’s asleep.  Don’t just leave when her eyes close because there’s something else you want to do.  If you leave before she’s asleep you’ll defeat the whole purpose – which is to make her feel calm and reassured while she’s sleeping.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep.

Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Four

On the eleventh night, move your chair into the hallway now, so he can still see you through the door. Close your eyes so he can see it’s sleeping time.  Shush him when necessary and stay until he falls asleep.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until he has fallen completely asleep.

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Five

If she’s still having trouble falling asleep on her own by Night 13, move the chair in the hallway and shut the door almost all the way. You will need to occasionally use your voice to soothe and remind her that even though she can’t directly see you, you are still there.

Pay attention to her cries, but don’t go rushing in at the first sign of a whimper.  If you MUST go in, stand at the door and offer soothing tones, then step back outside.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep.

How to Handle the Nighttime Wake-Ups

When/if your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, simply repeat the position you had in the shuffle the evening prior.

Do not feed your baby, and do not change his diaper unless you absolutely have to.  (And if you have to, keep the lights low and don’t speak.) Repeat this position every time he wakes up until 6-7 am until it’s time to start the day.

Your Emergency Backup Plan:
A 110% Sleeping Money-Back Guarantee

If you’ve used this method consistently for 5-7 days and you’re not seeing improvement, be encouraged.  This isn’t the only sleep coach method up our billowing sleeves!

Perhaps you just need someone to do it WITH you, teaching you how to make adjustments along the way (and perhaps tackling naps, crib transitions, or early morning wake-ups at the same time!

Sign up here for a Full Coaching Session and let us work together to meet your sleeping goals. Did I mention it comes with the internet’s only 110% Money Back Sleeping Guarantee? We want you to know we are as committed to your success as you are.

Okay Then, Class!
It’s Quiz Time!

What?

You thought I was joking about the quiz?

I never joke about sleeping. It’s just too precious to take lightly.

So here goes!  Fill in the blanks:

Your assignment is to be __________ __________, but completely _____________until he has fallen completely _________.

No looking back and cheating. I see that wandering eye there, Miss Smith!

Did you write down this? Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep. 

I would say the most important phrase on that sentence above is CONSISTENT. Don’t try this method for a two days and give up. Trust, me that will make your sleeping struggles worse, because it’s just going to confuse him.

And do you know what confused babies do? They cry. A LOT.

So set your mind to the task ahead, my friend. Stay focused. Stay plugged. And stay encouraged. You know you have a backup plan! 

The Sandman promised to give all his best pupils an extra bag of sand tonight. He’s generous like that. ]

Have You Read These Yet?

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236 thoughts on “The Sandman’s School of Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night

  1. Any advice for a mom who has a 3.5 yr old who shares a room with a 16 week old? We sleep trained my 3 yr old when he was 6 mo but I don’t k or how to do it if they r sharing a room? Baby sleeps in my room or living room most nights.

    Xoxo

    1.   Ya that’s a great question and a common hiccup for many families, so thank you for asking. At 16 weeks your youngest MAY be close to being able to sleep coach. You want to make sure your baby is past his/her 4 month milestone shift.  Does baby seem more like a BABY than a newborn?  That’s a sign that he/she may be ready for coaching.  (Trying to coach before they are ready often leads to more tears – for everyone.)
      If you see some readiness for that then I recommend that you do that first (perhaps in your room like you mentioned) and then move them in the room together. If your littlest one isn’t ready for sleep coaching and you want to move baby in now (or even after you’ve done the sleep coaching), the most helpful recommendation is to always put baby to bed first, while big brother or sister is busy with something quiet to do in the other room. You can then have part of big brother or sisters bedtime routine happen in that other room and finish it quietly together in the bedroom after baby is sound asleep.
      Now, babies wake at night, as you know….so when this happens, you may want to go to your older child first and reassure him that it’s okay. Let him know that little baby woke up but that it’s okay to go back to sleep while you are tending to his little sibling.
      In addition to this, you can teach your older child good sleep manners like: no talking to, playing with or waking the baby when he asleep. You can explain that it is so special to get to share a room  together and offer rewards for good sleep manners. 

      Amy and I’d love to do this with you, if you have an hour to talk back and forth!  Click here to learn about our Super Sessions.  This way we can look beyond this little comment and really help you write up a step-by-step plan, for now AND for later when she’s ready to coach!

      warmly, Heather
  2. Our Monkey was a sleep champ in the beginning. We had our routine down pat => bath, massage, cuddle & songs followed by a bottle and we would lower her into her crib (still awake) and walk out the room. She would fall asleep herself without a single cry. Wake up once or twice for a bottle or the pacifier and happily go back to sleep by herself. We joked that she put herself to bed each night. And we patted ourselves on the back… big mistake.

    Then came the teething – so we did lots of cuddling and a bit of co-sleeping (sleeping on my chest in the evening).

    The moment she could sit up, crawl and pull herself into standing position (8months) – she refused to go down in the crib without a fight each night.

    Now at 9.5months… every night is a battle of wills. We tried our previous routine with us walking out of the room the moment she went into the crib – but this has resulted in hysterical crying while standing up holding onto the crib bars and throwing her pacifier across the room (we thwarted this by placing more pacifiers in the crib) and she could CIA for over an hour – but I couldn’t.

    I know I am being played… because after 20-30minutes of hysterical crying (snot, tears, saliva all over her face) – the moment I return to the room, she stops and smiles at me.

    tonight we try the above method… because I don’t know what else to do.

    Any other suggestions?

    1. Hi Maxine!

      Just wondering how your new method worked? I love it that you can tell that she is “playing’ you a bit. If the above article and print out didn’t perfectly fit the sleep bill for your little one, it sounds like she would be a good candidate for scheduled, timed checks. In other words, you  are checking on her regularly rather than trying to let her CIO for too long. That could be too hard on her AND you, for sure! Poor mama….

      So here’s the deal, you will be setting a timer for every 7 minutes or so (once she starts crying) and quietly swinging in to reassure her that you are there, but that you still expect her to go asleep. Give a hug, “I love you”, “go back to sleep…” and leave the room again. Since she stands herself up, you may not even bother laying her back down because she will likely pop right back up, which will lead to a little power struggle and that’s never productive! So,  leave the room and set your timer to go back in and check on her again, the same way. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Until she is asleep.

      Hope this is helpful! Happy sleeping, Amy

    2. Thanks Amy!

      One week in and so far so good! Half the time, she is so knackered, she is 99% asleep as I am lowering her into the crib. The other half of the time, I have sat there making myself as boring as possible and the time it takes her to settle down as diminished from an hour to 40minutes and recently 20minutes. So fingers crossed it continues this way!

      Now to get her to sleep through! (we tried the sitting next to her at 2am… but after an hour I couldn’t keep my eyes open and she was in full bouncy mode – so I relented, gave her a bottle and within minutes she was happy to go back to sleep!)

      Happy sleeping indeed!

  3. Is 9 months old too late to do this? I worry that I have waited too long and now we are in trouble for the long hall.

    I have slowly weaned my 9 month daughter from being nursed to sleep now to just being rocked to sleep but it seems like this sleep association is keeping her sleep cycles extremely short as she wakes up from each nap after 30 minutes… not able to put herself back to sleep?

    While doing the shuffle and she is rolling around and trying to move… do I just allow her to move around hoping she will eventually settle dowN?

     

    THANK YOU!

  4. I’m at a loss. We’ve been trying to sleep train since 9 mo., my son is now 18 mo. He’s still up screaming for hours (11pm to 5am) all night long and will only sleep being rocked in my arms, no one else. I’m so sleep deprived I can’t function anymore and I don’t know what else to do. I hate to let him just cio, and he will just cry for up to 5 hours until he falls asleep from exhaustion and then wake up screaming again two hours later. His dr says there is nothing medically wrong woth him, he’s just stubborn. The sleep consultant we hired told us to just keep working on it and he will get it eventually?! Help!!

    1. Andrea,

      Five hours of crying! Goodness, you poor thing. That’s terrible. I can’t give you any solid advice (normally I read a 13-page health history and sleep logs for that kind of thing), but I will try to offer you some guesses and encouragements!

      1. I would stop any kind of coaching for a week and do whatever works. He may have a negative association with sleeping, or his crib, or his nursery (???), and before you start back up, you’ll want to replace those. I would make sure you spend time playing with him in the nursery every day, then put him in the crib for some happy crib play time while you sit next to him for a few minutes, etc. The goal here is to recreate the Nursery as a fun happy place to be. (I’ve worked with some parents whose kid would start screaming in the HALL before they even got to the nursery door because they knew what was coming! We want to remove any negative nursery feelings, since they will make any sleep coaching harder.)

      2. I would try a gentler approach (like the Shuffle explained in this article). This way he can see that you are with him, and you can feel like you’re actually supporting him, rather than leaving him to CIO. Talk with your sleep consultant about other options (there are other methods to try).

      3. Decide on a new coaching method and develop a NEW plan, but make sure it’s something you can be consistent in. Right now it sounds like he’s confused. Is mom going to leave me to sleep? Or pick me up? Perhaps if I keep crying she’ll give in and I can sleep in her arms (which is my favorite place to sleep anyway)… When it’s time to start up again, you will have to work hard to be consistent, so that he knows what is expected of him. The more consistent you are, the faster the coaching results.

      4. That said, brace yourself for a rough first week. If you’ve been inconsistent in the past, you’ll have to dig yourself out of a little hole before you can start fresh. This means he’s going to wonder in the first few days what in the world is going on. This doesn’t mean you can’t soothe him with your words or touch (even picking up once every 15 minutes is okay, if he’s getting hysterical), it just means you need to know what your soothing plan is before you get started and then stick to it religiously until he starts to understands how things are going to be now. Once he “gets that” things will go much faster.

      5. If you’re still struggling after a week or two and want someone to walk through this with you, contact me. My friend Amy (also a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach) will be accepting new clients in May and would love to work with you. I am not currently taking clients at the moment, but (quite honestly) Amy is better at this than I am. 🙂 (We do meet twice a week to go over all her cases together, because two brainstorming heads are always better than one!)

      I hope this can encourage you, Andrea! I’m so sorry the reply is tardy, somehow this skipped my radar – Danielle had to remind me TWICE that I owed you a reply! (Praise God for Danielle!) 🙂

    1. Depends on the age of your baby, Denise. For many babies, naps don’t start reaching a regularity until around 5-6 months. I do recommend using the Shuffle for naps, yes. If you’d like to hear of other options (like if you have another child in the home and can’t sit there for nap training) or don’t know how long to sit there, you may find the Napping Know-How Webinar helpful!

  5. Hi! I have a question about this method. My little one sleeps through the night like a champ – she’s 3 months old, 4 next week. She sleeps from 9 PM – 9 AM every night, occasionally waking for one night feed. She sleeps in a pack-n-play in our room. BUT nap time is a nightmare during the day. She will only sleep on me post nursing, or in the car. I cannot get her to nap either in her crib or her bassinet to save her life. I’m not sure if my wake-time is off or what but I am wondering if this method could be applied to nap time, as we have no issues at night time. Or if there is something else I should be trying! Not that I mind the snuggles, but this Mama would like to do some laundry during the day!

    1. Amber,

      I think the first thing you should know is that babies can’t really self soothe until they have passed their 4 month milestones. That being said, there are some sleep shaping things you can try. Take a look at this article. This one also gives some good ideas (I recommend looking at what Heather says about the nursery needing to be quiet and very dark). And know that soon she will be ready to give the sleep shuffle a whirl (if needed).

  6. Hello,

    I have a dilemma about which sleeping problem to tackle first and how to do that – I have a four and a half months old baby. She just recently got rid of the gas pains. She was ok with them sleeping wise when two months old, but then it got worse and she could sleep only on her tummy (previsously on her back), so I gave in and let her do that. Also, before that she would go to sleep while breastfeeding, I put her down in crib, she would wake up after several minutes, but would fall asleep on her own. After the gas pains got worse, she began crying several times some time after I put her to sleep, so most of the time I picked her up and rocked her to sleep. In other times she would stop after a while without my intervention.

    The dilemma – should I start with the sleeping on her tummy thing or helping her fall asleep on her own? Because there have been several times when she has fallen asleep on her own, for example, yesterday – we took a tour around the room, I sang a little and sat quietly for a while, put her on her tummy in the crib, stayed there and held her hand very lightly. She whimpered a little, but soon went to sleep without any fuss. Seems like a progress to me. I guess it also depends on the mood and just the right “amount” of sleepiness.

    Then again I’m not very happy about the tummy thing – are there any little steps I can take to make the transition easier? She only sleeps on her back in the stroller (I put her there completely asleep).

    Another thing is that she partially wakes up after one sleep cycle (40-50 minutes) during the naps. But to me that’s not the biggest problem. Somehow it feels that once she learns how to fall asleep on her own, it will get better.

    1. Liv,

      It sounds like you are doing such a great job of reading your baby’s sleep cues! Regarding sleeping on her tummy, is she rolling over yet? If so, she might just roll over to her tummy either way! If she is not rolling over yet then I wouldn’t put her down to sleep on her tummy yet. You might consider trying the slanted seat described in this article. It might make a difference if she is not completely flat on her back (since you said that she sleeps well in her stroller).

      Breastfeeding her before bed is great, I just recommend that you try (not always possible!) to put her down while she is drowsy but not completely asleep. This will help her avoid a habit of using breastfeeding as a sleep crutch.

      Sounds like you two are doing so well though. Keep up the good work!

  7. Hi there!  I’m getting ready to start this with my 8-month old and I’m wondering if I should be doing it at nap times or just at night?  Thank you!

    1. Jennifer, great question. You can do both at the same time, but start with nighttime first (it’s usually easier). So the evening you’re going to start, try to get him/her to get some really good rest during the day, so he’s not overtired at bedtime when you start. (That means, do whatever you have to do to get naps that day!). Good luck, friend! I hope it helps! Just remember, if you get stuck and feel like things aren’t going well, we’re always here. An ace in your pocket, just in case! There are other gentle sleeping methods out there, so if after consistent effort the shuffle isn’t getting you closer to your goal, perhaps consider joining me for a Sleep Workshop and we can talk about some of the other methods and create a plan together. So keep that buzzing in the back of your mind, so you don’t feel it all rests on this! There are always options! xoxo

  8. Hi Heather and everybody else 🙂

    I have a 5.5 months old baby boy. He is the happiest and content baby! Loves being with other people, which does not mean he constantly is. I just want to mention that he does not have any separation anxieties. He will eat/drink, sleep, play with anybody. Takes beautiful naps, where we used to let him sleep up to 3 hours 2-3 times a day. Since a Month now we started to wake him up after 2 hours for the first nap, 1.5 hours for the second nap and about 45 min for the 3rd nap. We have no bedtime issues. We have a routine of massage, diaper, pjs, book, nurse. He is put to bed fully awake at night as well as during every nap. He will babble himself to sleep. NEVER an issue. So he CAN soothe himself and put himself to sleep. He used to sleep 4-4.5 hours twice and then a little more until he woke up for the day. Since about 6-7 weeks he will not stay asleep. We are battling 1.5-2 hours all night. Needless to say Mom and Dad are exhausted. I usually wait to see if he will go back to sleep before I go get him. When I pick him up he will go right back to sleep,  but if I dare to put him down anywhere. Weather the crib, in bed with us,… nothing pleases him to the point where even picking him up will not work anymore. I eventually have to nurse him and he will suckle for about 10-30min until he falls asleep nursing. Only when he let’s go by himself can I put him to bed. There has been many nights now where we are just so exhausted that we give in and nurse right away. Which sometimes leads to pretty big spit ups an hour later (I assume its just WAAAYYYY to much) Our doctor said he is physically and mentally one of the best babies he knows and that it’s time to let him cry 🙁 THIS IS NOT AN OPTION FOR US. While I understand there will be crying, I will not leave him alone to cry it out. What are other options??? We are desperate.!!!

    1. Heidi,

      Sounds like you have a precious little guy there!
      Since the doctor has given him and clean bill of health, (yay!) and he is past his 4 month milestones, he is ready to sleep train. That’s good news!
      I recommend starting with the very gentle Sleep Shuffle method, the one described in this article. Since he has been used to nursing back to sleep he might not do well with you being in the room. Can dad step in and take over? Give this a try. If you find it’s not doing the trick I highly recommend Heather’s Sleep Workshops. She will help you find the best method for sleep training that works for your family. There are plenty to choose from that are more gentle than the CIO method (we aren’t a big fan of that method here at Incredible Infant, either!). Hope this helps!

  9. I posted on here when my baby was first being sleep trained and it helped SO much so I thought I’d post again now that I’m having issues again. My little boy is 17mo now and we went down to 1 nap about a month ago because he stopped sleeping for two. In the last two weeks he’s been waking up 1-1.5hrs earlier in the mornings. Any tips on how to push this later again? Is it time for a later bedtime? He was sleeping 7:30-7:30 and napping from 12:30-2:30/3:30 depending on the day. Thanks!

    1. Erin, I’m glad to hear it helped the first time around. Hope this one will as well! 99% of the time, a baby waking earlier in the day (before 6am) is linked to being put down too drowsy at bedtime. If your baby is rising before 6am, try slipping in an Emergency Nap (something I talk a lot about in the Napping Webinar) at the end of the day to help him not be so exhausted at bedtime.

      If he’s sleeping later than 6am, but is still too early for you, you could try slipping in there for a dreamfeed about an hour before he wakes up. Feed him with no lights, no talking, no diaper changes, nothing, and then put him back down again and see if that helps. Do that for a few days and then stop and see if he extends that morning time on his own. That is a gamble, though, because he may decide his day has started and not cooperate with the dreamfeed. Still, it may be worth the risk. Hope this can help Erin!

  10. Hi! Thanks for the reply. This is why I’m confused she goes to bed not drowsy she takes about 5-10 mins to fall asleep with no crying etc so is great! She can also self settle during naps. I usually wake her at her cat nap after 20 mins. Should I not? She can go 45 mins. What timings should her morning nap be starting at? Thanks?

    1. Amy,

      It sounds like your baby is a champion sleeper, you are blessed! Why don’t you try letting her sleep the full 45 minutes instead of waking her after 20. This might help her find her more perfect rhythm (though, it sounds pretty lovely to me already 🙂 )!

  11. Hi there. My 7m old has just got herself into a great routine. She was a 45min Napper but stopped this at about 6 months. She goes to sleep well and has no sleep props. However she goes to bed at 630/7pm and is waking at 5-530am. She wakes happy and is usually ok to stay there till 630 then she has a bottle. She looks like she’s trying to go back to sleep but can’t. She takes a nap at 830 for an hour or so and then 12 for about 1.5 hours and a cat nap around 3-4 for 20-30 mins. Should I cut back on her morning nap? I tried df a while ago and it didn’t work. She is also a great eater 3 bottles and 3 big meals a day! Any ideas would be great ?

    1. Amy, if you’re concerned about the early waking (before 6am), I would try to make sure she’s not being put into the crib too drowsy. That’s the most common cause for a child waking up too early in the morning – they are being put down too drowsy at night. So instead of her being an 8 on the sleepy scale, I’d try to put her down when she’s a 6. The average daily total for a child at this age is around 3.5 hours, so you’re getting really close to that. If you want to learn how to stretch that catnap a bit, I do talk a lot about that in The Napping Know-How Webinar, you may find attending that helpful.

  12. Ok we have no trouble going to sleep at night. She’s a rockstar falling asleep on her own, but we have night wakings. She’s almost 7 months. Usually once but sometimes two or three times randomly. What to do then? Also….. Naps suck. Big time. Suggestions? Thanks!!

  13. I have a 5 month old who we can’t get past the hysterical crying stage. We went cold turkey with the dummy a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was getting better. Now it seems most nights we have over an hour of hysterical crying until I feed him to settle him. He doesn’t always fall asleep while feeding. I now can’t get him down at all for daytime naps either without the same! I don’t know what to do!

    1. Caroline,

      OH, that’s so hard, isn’t it? It really sounds like he isn’t ready to make the transition to going without the feed before bed. Why don’t you try feeding him in a mostly dark room and then add one more activity (like changing his diaper) before you put him down. Try doing this without any interaction, it’s important to be very boring, and then gently put him in bed. If this doesn’t work, he still gets hysterical, then try feeding him and putting him down right before he falls asleep (rather than letting him fall asleep completely while he’s eating). Hope these ideas help. I’m sure soon he will be ready to try the Sleep Shuffle again. No rush, when he is ready you’ll know!

  14. Quick question, when you move on to steps 2 and beyond are you still supposed to start by following your evening routine to get baby sleepy, but not sleeping?

    1. Karla,

      Yes, though when your little one is old enough (you’ll sense the difference when it comes) then you can move beyond that as well.

  15. Hi there
    Thanks for a great blog!
    I have a 12 week old boy who has from day 1 trouble sleeping on his own. The first couple if weeks he litterarly slept on me. After a while he sarted to accept be put down ( but only fast asleep).
    Since week 9 i have been trying to put him on a schedule- naps at max 2 hrs after wake time. Its been a nightmare! He is obviously tired and i try to put him down drowsy but not asleep and it just wont work-he wakes up imeadiatly and screams at rh top of his head. I managed before to put him to sleep by rocking and singing ( though it took forever) and once down, a pacifier and i would sit the entite first sleep cycle ( 45 – 50 mins) with him. Things have unfortunatly reached rock bottom. Since 2 days he will only sleep with my boob in his mouth and even if he is fast asleep and i remove it, he will scream again. There is no shushing, singing and rocking in the world that will do. I have tried the picking up/ putting down and after 3 hrs of screaming i just gave in. He has no teflux or medical condition as far as we know.
    All three of us ( husban me and M ) are overtired, frustrated and desperate. Any advise?
    Thank you!

    1. Rebecca,

      Have you tried a Rock N Play? He could probably use it for at least one more month (though you might need to strap him in). It might help him get over this sleep hurtle.

  16. Hi! I’m kind of desperate.. My 11months old baby girl Ava wakes up screaming at random hours during the night. She isn’t teething, and has always been happy to go to sleep, though she could wake up, but was very easy to put back to sleep.
    There has been a major change in our lives, I’m back to work and I was the one taking care of her daily, My husband and I are trying to spend as much time as we can with her and her brother. We also explain what’s happening. She starts daycare on Monday and her grand parents have been taking care of her for the last 2 weeks.
    The problem is that when I pick her up from bed, she stops screaming and falls instantly back to sleep in my arms. As soon as she starts touching her mattress, she screams.
    I tried sitting by her bed holding her hand, I tried letting her cry for 5 then 10, then 15 minutes.
    It’s been a full week and and fear it’s not going to stop soon. And my neighbors are awful about it, as if we were bad parents…

    1. Anais,

      Oh, it’s so hard when your little one can’t sleep. You are right to give her that extra touch and reassurance. I’m sure that is what she needs most right now.
      Heather wrote an article on separation anxiety that has some helpful ideas.

      P.S. Judging neighbors…you can just hope that they will be in your shoes someday!

  17.  
    Hi Heather,
    Love your blog. Thanks for all the wonderful information.
    I have an almost 10 month old that is totally used to being nursed to fall asleep (I know this is all my fault!) and by now I’m getting exhausted. He has only slept through the night once before. We have a set evening routine of feeding him solids at 7p, bath and then nursing so that he is asleep by 8pm. We were in a pattern in which he woke up at around 2am, I would nurse him while both laying down and when he was asleep I would move him to his pack ‘n play that is next to my bed and he would wake up at around 5:30a-6am every morning. This was until he learned how to stand and now every single time he wakes up he wants to sit and then stand so obviously he can’t go back to sleep while standing. He can now wake up 1-3 times a night. I tried to not nurse him last weekend in the middle of the night so my husband would pick him up from the pack ‘n play, put him on the bed and try to comfort him while I faced the other way and pretended to be asleep. After 45 min. of him calling for mama and pulling on my shirt while crying I gave up, tried to comfort him to no avail so I caved in and ended up nursing him back to sleep. When he nurses in the middle of the night he does eat a good amount before he falls back asleep. He never liked a pacifier so that is not an option to comfort him. Both my husband and I want to keep him in our room for now. His bedroom is in the other side of the house and every time we put him in the crib for play/naps  he bumps his head/face a lot as he is constantly trying to get up but is not fully stable yet. Could it be that he is not comfortable in the pack ‘n play anymore so he is not sleeping through the night? Or does he still need the night feedings?
     
    Any suggestions that you have would be appreciated. 

    1. Alex,

      It can be such a transition (for the mama!) to put your little guy in his own crib, in his own room, especially if he’s your first! I remember transitioning my first-born to the crib. I was so worried about him that I slept in his nursery with him for a least a couple of nights.

      I have some articles to recommend to you. First, this article about bumpers might be a help to your little guy. Second,this article about babes/sleep/and cribs might also help.
      Again, I can completely understand you wanting to keep him in the room with you, however, if you do, I don’t think it’s really fair to him to expect him to sleep through without feeding. You are right there, his perfect food source! If you want to stop the night feedings I think a change in location and then a weekend with just dad going in to comfort him is a great idea.
      If he continues to wake for a feed and won’t settle back down (even with a change to the crib and just dad at night) you could try this: Try waking him 30 minutes before his usual feed time (if there is a usual 🙂 ). Try to give him a dream feed and put him back in bed without fully waking him. After you do this for a couple of nights you can try a night without waking him to see if the habit has been broken. The trick is to keep to dream feeds or you’ll just be replacing one habit with another, 30 minutes earlier!

      I hope this will be a help to you and as always, you are the mama! You know what is best for your little one so you make the choice!

  18. Hi Heather,
    I have a 7 month old little boy that has for the most part co slept with me since his birth. He takes some naps in his crib and a couple of nights in there as well. The problem is he is a huge comfort nurser and needs to nurse to sleep. The co sleeping is a problem now because I am waking him up when I need to move to a different position. So we tried the no nursing to sleep last night. He did great at first.. I fed him then had to rock him to sleep, but it was easy. When he woke up at about 130 it took over an hour to get him back down. I got him to fall asleep without nursing twice but when I layed him down he screamed. I left him there and stayed with him trying to get him to fall back asleep. This lasted about 20 min. At that point he became so upset I could not get him to settle until finally over an hour later I nursed him back down for both our sanity. Even dad tried hoping if he didn’t see me it would help. On the plus side he stayed asleep for 4 1/2 hours after that. I’m going to keep trying, but any advise would be helpful. Also what do I do about naps? Do I cut out nursing here to sleep as well or wait until he has nighttime down?

    Thank you
    Annika

    1. Annika,

      You may want to stair-step him down from those nightly nursing sessions by cutting back by 2-3 minutes every night on that feeding, instead of cutting cold-turkey. Also, is cosleeping something you want to continue to do? Or phase out? If you want to phase it out, we’d want to work that into a sleep plan at the beginning, before you do the coaching. Otherwise you’ll have to redo the coaching once he’s settled into the nursery (or crib in your room).

      As for naps, you could start nursing him at the END of the nap rather than the beginning. Normally, though, I encourage my clients to start with the nighttime sleep first, since an overtired baby during the day will make nighttime coaching a lot harder.

      If you want to speak more specifically, we could develop a sleep plan together for you to implement during one of my Sleep Coaching Workshops. I have one coming up next week if you want to participate. Click here for details. I hope some of these things can help! xoxo

  19. Hi Heather!

    I have five month old twins who were rock star sleepers before this regression. They go to sleep after their night feed At 1130 pm. I am hearing lately though that I should be putting them to sleep earlier? &that it will help them to sleep better through the night. I definitely want to gradually move that night feeding earlier but how do I do this with amounts making sure they still get the amount of formula they need? And do I move their bedtime up gradually? Thank you so very much!

    1. Carol,

      I think you are right on track with this plan! I would try moving their bedtime up by half and hour each night until you find their sweet spot (you’ll know because they will sleep better and longer than ever before!). Be prepared to give them more each feeding if they start sleeping through the night, especially the morning feed. Hope this does the trick!

  20. Hi there!! We have a beautiful ten month little girl who wakes up in the middle of the night, sometimes starting at 1:00am on and will not go back down unless my husband or I am holding her. If we are holding her, she falls sound asleep. The instant we place her in her crib, she screams. We have tried soothing her with touch, voice, lovey, and pacifier…no go :-(. There are some nights that the pick-up-stop crying-put down-scream continues for more than two hours. Help!!! I should note, our bedtime routine consists of a bath, diaper, bottle, stories, and bed. She is usually half-awake and will fuss/cry ~1-3 minutes and then She is out. This has been going on now for about two months. I thought teething, but where are the teeth??? We’ve done Motrin and still nothing. My husband and I are going CrAzY –help!!!

    1. Katie,

      There are many potential reasons for a baby to wake up in the middle of the night, so I really can’t give you a specific response here, I just don’t feel I have enough information to be definitive. That said, I would talk it over with your doctor (to make sure there isn’t a medical reason for the wake ups). If there are no medical reasons, then it’s probably a behavioral reason. She’s waking up and not being able to fall asleep without you. (What I call a sleep crutch.) This is very normal! Falling asleep is helped along by our brain making melatonin, and our brain does that as a result of certain triggers. My guess is that she’s developed a habit of waking and then can’t put herself back to sleep. I would start using the shuffle at bedtime and then sitting in the same position for her nighttime wake ups (at least those you’ve decided she doesn’t need a feeding). The first few nights will be difficult, because she’ll be confused, wondering why you’re not doing what you’re “supposed” to be doing (i.e. holding her for the rest of the night.) As long as you’re consistent, she will start to understand the new way of doing things.

      If that seems overwhelming to you, or you’re not sure if the Shuffle is the right method for you, consider signing up for one of my Sleep Workshops. We can discuss the situation together, and I can share a few other methods that you could consider as well. Then’ll we’ll write up a sleep plan that you can consistently implement to help her get past that 1am wakeup! Click here for more info on the Sleep Workshops. Hope this can help! xo

  21. Hi, heather! My sweet baby Khloe, she’s 6 months old and still waking up twice or 3 times at night!
    I tried this method but she screams cries! Omg you can heard her a mile away!! I used to feed her 4oz but she won’t drink it all, so I went to 2 oz sometimes She drink it sometimes not! It’s getting kinda tired, every time the bottle or paci gets out of her mouth we get up and put it back, if we don’t OMG she won’t stop!
    I really appreciate I you help me or give me one advice! Thank you so much

    1. Chris, how consistent were you with the method? If you gave in before 5-7 days, that may be part of the problem. Consistency is key in helping her understand the new way of doing things and avoiding having her be super confused (and crying longer and harder). Also, it’s okay to pick her up to calm her if you need to. Just remember if she stops immediately crying, hand her an Oscar because she totally played you. She wasn’t really upset, she just was waiting for you to pick her up. If that happens you have to wait longer before doing a “Pick up to Calm”.

      If she didn’t calm down immediately (and was honestly really upset), go head and calm her down, walking around the room while she resettles. Then you’ll need to put her down again, awake. This means that she’s going to cry the moment you put her down. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed! It means she’s unhappy with what you’ve done. Reassure her with your voice and occasionally try to stroke her hand/face, but try not to pick her up again if you can help it for 20 minutes. 99% of the time they will fall asleep within 20 minutes of a pick up. It’s important to remember that you’re not doing cry it out here. You ARE responding. You ARE soothing and comforting her. You’re just not soothing and comforting her in the way she wants to be soothed/comforted – hence the crying.

      That said, if this method is still not clicking, you may want to consider signing up for a Sleep Workshop. We talk through your situation and discuss weaning methods and coaching methods beyond the Shuffle, creating a sleep plan together for you to implement. Put that in your back pocket if you’re still struggling. I’d love to talk with you personally and come up with a solution, if you need me. xoxo

  22. Hi Heather! I have four month old twins that have been good little sleepers However I think they may be hitting the regression. Lately they have been waking up About after one hour of sleeping and fussing lots. They go back to sleep with a Paci. They do not roll over yet but are getting close. They sleep 7-8 hours a night with a feeding. we swaddle them and that helps a ton. I tried leaving my daughters arms out the other night and she is just super fidgety when not swaddled. I guess whAt I’m trying to ask is, should we start to not swaddle them so they don’t rely on it too much when they roll over?

    Also, right now we leave them in the living room and they sleep until their 11 pm feeding, and THEN we put them in cribs and swaddle after that. Should we start putting them in their cribs after our 7 pm feeding so they realize this will be their bedtime when we take out the late night feeding? Thank you so much for your time and I LOVE all your articles!!!!

    1. Carol,

      Congratulations on your twins! I will pass your compliments on to Heather. She is the greatest, isn’t she?! Love that sense of humor.

      Anyway, regarding your two little sweeties, take a look at this article about how to help the swaddle transition. I think you will find what you need there. You are absolutely spot on to start this now. When the rolling over happens, the swaddle needs to stop. Nothing so scary as finding your little one face down in a swaddle, yikes! I also think your mama instincts about switching your little ones to their cribs sooner at night is good. The 4 month sleep regression happens because your babies become so much more aware of their world (and start moving more!). Putting them in their own cribs gives them a quieter, darker (I assume) place to start out the night. It should help!

    2. Thank you ladies for the kind words! I’m so thankful that I could encourage and even (fingers crossed) help you giggle a little once in a while. 🙂 Just wanted to second Danielle’s great advice about the moving to the crib. I’ve found that usually everyone sleeps better when they have separate sleeping spots. Otherwise our cycles can interfere and we can wake eachother up! That said, some parents like being all together. I’m an introvert, so a little space is needed for my sanity. 🙂

      I also wanted to mention two other posts that may come in handy, Carol. (There’s so many posts on the blog these days, it’s easy to miss things!) You can learn 8 different methods to wean off the swaddle in this post, while this post discusses the different scheduling techniques for multiples. Hope these can also help! xo

  23. I’m hoping you can help me. You’re post and tips seem like something I’d like to try but I’m not sure if it’s time yet for my 4 month old. He still wakes every 2.5-3 hrs at night to eat 4 ounces. He is only at the 2nd percentile for weight so I’m worried to try to take any night feelings from him. We just started solids so his pediatrician Doesnt seen too concerned. However, there are times he goes to bed at 7ish .. Wakes up for his feeds and goes back to sleep until 7ish. Lately, he hasn’t wanted to go back to sleep after his early morning Feed.. Around 2 or 3am. He coos and squeals like its play time. I’ve tried to let him CIO but he is relentless. I let him scream for two hours one morning. It made me sick to my stomach and I still ended up caving after what seemed like the longest two hours of my life. The only way I’ve got him to go back to sleep at that early hour is to lay him in our bed after his feeding and cuddle him. I really hate doing this because I know it’s unsafe to sleep with him but I’m at a lose. Any advice would be helpful!

    1. Sam,

      4 months can be a tricky time for sleep! Your little guy is probably crossing some milestones off his list and moving and grooving more, am I right? When babies start to move more it becomes harder for them to settle down to sleep. Not fun! The great news, though, is that when your baby gets through these 4-month-old milestones that’s a good sign that he is ready to start self-soothing. Now, it doesn’t sounds like the CIO went well the other night (it’s the worst listening to your baby cry, I know!) but you could certainly try the sleep shuffle with him. The other thing that you could do is try a dream feed for the 2:00. Write down what time he wakes for the next couple of nights and then go in to feed him 30 minutes sooner the following night. If you can do a dream feed (feed him while he is still pretty much asleep) then he’s less likely to want to party. He might even decide to drop that feed after a few nights of dream feeding. Only if he’s ready, of course.
      Hope this helps!

  24. Hello! Thank you for your site! I have a question regarding my newly-turned six month old.

    He just can’t seem to decide how he wants to sleep. No night is ever the same! He will sometimes sleep from 8-6, or sometimes sleep from 8-anywhere in between 8 and 4-630. On bad nights, he will wake up between 1130-330. I usually let him cry a bit (less than ten minutes) before I go in and change him and nurse him back to sleep. I am not sure how to train him, or even if he needs training? But, I really would like him to sleep all the way through the night. 🙂

    Right now our bedtime routine is bath, book, nurse, bed. He falls asleep nursing. I didn’t think it was a problem because most of the time he sleeps a 8+ hour stretch after nursing to sleep the first time.

    Help! 🙂

    1. Amanda,

      I must say that trying to figure out sleep in the first year of a baby’s life can sometimes feel like riding a bucking bronco! You feel like things are going along smoothly and then, the ride begins! 🙂 Oh, and there’s the teething factor too. Is it possible that your little guy might be teething right now?
      Anyway, the good news is that he now has the skills to self-soothe but will need a little direction from you. I recommend starting with the sleep training method in this post (the Shuffle!). It’s a very gentle way to start.
      In addition you can take a look at this article and this one too for more ideas.

      Hope this helps your little guy!

  25. Thanks so much! We will just wait it out and work on the pacifier! Any suggestions on when it might be a good time to stop swaddling? He sometimes seems like he doesn’t like it but it does seems like it calms him- otherwise he ends up smacking himself in the face when he sleeps.

  26. Hi!
    Thanks so much for your site, it helped my sweet babe to get off to a good start at sleeping! My son just turned 4 months old and up until now, had been an excellent sleeper, sleeping 7-8 hours through the night without a feeding, a quick nursing session and back to sleep for a total night time sleep of about 10 hours. He was also sleeping about 2-2 hour naps a day like a champ. The past couple weeks, he has been waking up every 1-2 hours fussing in his crib. He sleeps in our room, with darkening curtains and white noise. I usually can soothe him back to sleep by just putting his pacifier back in his mouth but I am getting so tired of waking up that frequently through the night. He seems so tired all day but his 2 hour naps have turned into 30 minute naps max. Any ideas? Could this just be the dreaded 4 month sleep regression? What can we do to get him back on the right track? thank you!

    1. Vanessa,

      Sorry to say it but this does sounds exactly like the 4 month sleep regression!

      I would start by keeping a sleep log. Then check your sleep log and try putting him down 20-30 minutes sooner the next day. This will help if the “too sleepy to sleep” factor is creeping in. Also, as you pointed out, this is a developmental stage and when he settles into it I’m sure the nighttime sleep will get better too.
      The good thing regarding the pacifier, is that soon he will be able to put it in himself. You can help him when you think he’s ready by handing the pacifier to him and guiding it to his mouth so he starts to get the right idea. Also, you can put multiple extra pacifiers in the crib so that when he’s ready he can find one and replace his own (this might be a while yet but thinking ahead…).

  27. Hi,

    I have 11 month old twins who are suddenly night-time terrors. When they were born I followed your schedules and they worked wonders. The girls slept through at 13 weeks and continued to sleep 11-12 hours straight until about 8 months when it all went wrong. They now wake 2-3 times in the night and are up between 500 and 600 in the morning. They nap 1 hour at 900 and 1 hour at 1400, going down without a problem. At 1900 they will soothe themselves to sleep, as well without a problem but between 0100 and 0400 in the morning everything just kicks off. I’ve tried shushing them to sleep but the only thing that seems to work is giving them a drink of water.

    I would appreciate any help or advice you could give me.

    Elizabeth

    P.s. Your website is amazing and has been my go-to page for the past year!

    1. Elizabeth,

      So glad the site has been helpful! Congratulations to you, almost through the first year with your twins, wow!

      I’m having sleep adventures right now with my 11-month-old too. For her, I think it is teething related. Could that be the case with your little ones? Take a look at this article if you think teething might be the cause. It’s always good to have a few teething tricks up your sleeve. 🙂
      Because they are waking multiple times a night I would consider two other things as well. First, try upping their solids during the day, think about protein and good fats (gotta love avocado, if they will eat it!). Second, try moving their bed time up by 15 minutes. One of the strange things about sleep for kids is that if they get to bed too late they tend to not sleep as well. So, though 7 seems early enough they might need to get to bed even earlier. Try moving it up by 15 minutes til you find their sweet spot (or not, you will know if it’s not working but it is worth a try!). 🙂

      Hope this helps your little ones to party less at night!

  28. Hi, our baby is struggling to get through the first sleep cycle when napping during the day. He only sleeps for 30 mins then cries loads. He’s then miserable for most of the day! How do we get him through his first sleep cycle? He sleeps really well at night. It’s just during the day is a struggle!!

    1. Glen,

      I’m not sure how old your little one is but depending on his age the issue might be as simple as needing to get him down for that first nap a little sooner. When your baby is tiny it’s easy to miss the first sleep window because it comes sooner than you think. One of the counterintuitive rules of sleep for kids is that when they are over-tired they don’t sleep as well!

  29. Hi Heather,

    I want to try these methods with my 7 month old boy however he’s gotten into the habit of going to sleep with a bottle both day naps and bedtime. How do I follow this?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Tiana, that’s a great question! Just slip something into the routine between the bottle and putting him down. Remember, you want him drowsy, but not sleeping, so he can learn that sensation of falling asleep without being assisted. You could do a diaper change, or feed him with the lights on, or feed him in a different room and then put him to bed. It may be bumpy at the beginning, he’s learning a new skill – falling asleep with out a bottle, and that’s hard work! One more thing, I would work on this gradually – so start with bedtime for several days, then the first nap of the day, etc. If you try to do it 100% right away, he’ll have a hard time getting his daily sleep needs met, and you’ll have an overtired and SUPER cranky baby. 🙂

  30. I am interested in this method of gentle sleep coaching for my 5 month old. However, can this be done if she is still sleeping in our room or does she have to be in her crib in her own room? She has had pretty bad reflux which has improved tremendously but she still sleeps on an incline acid reflux pillow. We are not quite ready for her to sleep flat on her back in her own room because she has had some spit up issues when we have tried it out briefly for naps and I worry about the choking hazard. She is currently waking up twice per night to feed around midnight and 4:00am and beginning her day about 6:30am. She doesn’t eat a lot throughout the day. Her appetite declined around the 4 month mark and I always thought that she was awakening in the night out of hunger and a need for calories. I did not realize this could be a sleep crutch that has developed. She immediately falls back to sleep after both of these feedings. Is my child a candidate for gentle sleep coaching? Additionally, does a child have to be free from their swaddle before you can begin the program either? We have not been able to successfully ween from a swaddle yet due to her strong Moro reflex. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated as I am absolutely exhausted and would love for my child to have the restorative sleep she so deserves. Thanks!

    1. Shaunna,

      You sound like such a loving mama, your baby is blessed to have you! I am sure that Heather’s Sleep Workshops would be a help to you. It’s a live workshop so Heather will work with you to find a sleep plan that is good for your family.

  31. hi my question is what would give an almost 3 month old baby nigot terrors and roughly how long will it take for them to go away

    1. Brittany, I’m not sure I’ve heard of babies this young having night terrors. That said, you know her best, and there’s always an exception! Night Terrors are usually at the beginning of the night – is that consistent with your experience? This Sleep Lady article may be helpful to you – discussing the differences between night terrors and nightmares.

      Night terrors can often be caused by sleep deprivation. I would try to make sure your little one is going down for a nap after being awake for an hour (that’s roughly the waketime window for a baby that young). If naps are a struggle, try babywearing to get him/her to sleep more during the day. If you don’t see improvements after adjusting his/her daytime routine, you may want to sign up for one of my Sleep Workshops, and I would be happy to look over a health history and talk through things with you.

  32. My daughter would sleep in her crib all night for the most part but since we switched her to a bed she climbs right out and into mine being tired I have allowed her to the past 2 months but now want to train her to sleep in her bed. How do I go about all these steps if she can just climb right out or is this just for infants

    1. Christine,

      Incredibleinfant.com is aimed at helping moms in the first year of their baby’s life. However, I do recommend you take a look at the Sleep Lady’s (Kim West) book Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy. She gives ideas to help older children as well.

  33. Hi Heather,

    I am a first time mom, and really appreciative of your blog! My son is 11 weeks old, just shy of 14 lbs, and is a very healthy Breast fed boy. I have been co sleeping with him since birth. It first started out as me on the couch and him in his chair next to me– which quickly led to him sleeping on my arm every night and me spooning him in the best baby-mama snugglefest. I loved it, he loved, but dad really wanted him to sleep in his crib. Which I understand and I was afraid if I didn’t get him out asap, I would have worse attachment issues than he will! In our bed, he consistently sleeps 6 hours with out waking to nurse, During the day he wont nap for longer than 20 minutes unless he is in my arms, or he is utterly exhausted from not napping all day — then I might get an hour out of him, but he wakes up at least twice during that hour. I work from home, and started back to work last week, and the 20 minute nap is kiiiillliiinngg me. So, last night we started CIO in his crib. He woke up a lot, maybe 10 times from 9pm to 6:30am, but one of those was for his normal feeding, and only 5 of them did I have to go in and calm him — the other 5 times he fell back asleep after about 3 minutes of whimpers. So my question is — Am I doing this in the wrong order? Should I be working on napping, then moving him to his crib?  Is he too young for this? I was feeling good about it last night, but now sleep deprivation and his little tears are causing me to feel guilty or that I am pushing him too hard too soon.

    1. Kristen,

      Sometimes being a mom can be tough! It’s hard to know how much to hold on and when to help your little one move to the next stage. 11 weeks really is young so we don’t encourage sleep training at this point. Your little guy probably doesn’t have the self-soothing skills yet. We do recommend sleep shaping (adjusting his environment) to help him sleep better. Think about some of the things you can adjust (is the room dark, is it quiet?) Think about transitioning to crib as you are doing but you will need to pick him up and comfort him when he gets really worked up (or if you feel he’s headed that way).
      This article is a very helpful one to clarify what a typical 11-week-old can handle developmentally. Regarding naps, in that article it talks about keeping a sleep log and I highly encourage this. Your little guy should be ready to go back down for a nap around 1 hour after he wakes (sooner than you think!). If he stays up too long between naps that will cause him to wake up too soon, counterintuitive, I know! Also, make sure that when you feed him he is getting a full feed rather than snacking. You want to know that if he is crying it’s not because he’s hungry!
      Hope this helps give you more to work with so you can feel less frustrated by this transition. You two can do it! Keep up the good mothering, friend!

  34. Hi, my son will be 4 months next week and we are desperate for him to start sleeping better. He was sleeping in his crib and only waking to eat 1-2 times at night but has regressed to sleeping in his rock n play and waking every 2-3 hrs. I want to try the sleep shuffle method but have this question first. Should I transition to the crib and try to cut down feedings at the same time or work on getting him to sleep longer in his rock n play first? He also takes a paci and I end up putting it back in his mouth several times a night. He is bottle fed breastmilk. Thank you!

    1. Charissa,

      You can go a head with the transition to crib. Your little guy is still pretty young so right now we just encourage sleep shaping (adjusting the environment around him) rather than sleep training (helping him learn to soothe on his own). When you do switch to the crib try elevating the mattress to help with that transition as seen in this article. Think about the nursery, is it dark? You can think about getting a noisemaker as well. This article talks about some of those elements. When your little guy goes through his 4 month milestones then you can think about sleep training. At that point he will be better able to self-soothe.
      Regarding the pacifier, it’s up to you but if you can get to the point where he is putting it in on his own then it becomes a self-soother (yay!). 🙂 You can practice that during the day by handing him the pacifier and gently helping him guide it to his mouth.

      Hope this helps you in your next transition. The first year is full of them but goes by so fast! Don’t forget to take it all in and cherish those moments!

  35. Hi! We used this method of sleep training with our son and he did so great with it! He was crying less than 1 minute and going to sleep then sleeping through the night. It was AMAZING! Suddenly he has 4 (yes, four) teeth that have surfaced at the same time (and these are his first teeth) so he’s really uncomfortable. I put him down drowsy but awake, he goes to sleep for about 5 minutes and then he’s up screaming and chomping on his paci and it takes awhile to get him calm. If I rock him to sleep, it takes awhile but he doesn’t wake up until 4am. Should I continue using the sleep shuffle at bedtime and wake ups or should I rock him until this bought of teething is over?

  36. Hi Heather,
    Thank you for these wonderful tips! The thing that my 14 week old seems to have a problem with while sleeping in her crib is the loss of the pacifier. It wakes her up almost immediately when it falls out of her mouth. We have only been sleeping in the crib a couple nights now and I’ve been putting it back in each time she wakes (I wait until it seems completely necessary first). It seems to be our main issue with the crib sleeping. Do you suggest I continuously put the pacifier back in her mouth or is there something else I should be doing? Thank you!

    1. Lauren,

      This problem with pacifiers seems to come up often! I recommend you try her in either a Rock N Play or read this article on how to create a little nest of sorts in the crib. If she is tucked in a little better the chances are better that the paci will stay put. Personally, I love the Rock N Play! Soon she will be able to pop that pacifier back in by herself. Then she will be self-soothing! In the mean time, you can practice with her during the day. Encourage her to hold on and guide her hand with the pacifier to her mouth. Practice makes perfect! 🙂

  37. I am contemplating trying the sleep shuffle (which sounds like the fading technique we were working on at 8 months until vacation across country hit and it all went out the window) with my 14 month old. Are there any special tips for getting a baby who stands in his critic calm down and lay down when you are sitting half way across the room?? He will sit up and Stare at me or start crying and not lay down unless I help him. Thanks in advance for any ideas!

    1. That’s a great question, Lindsay. You’ll want to avoid a power struggle – which he will take as “playtime” – where you put him down and he stands up and you put him down and he stands up…etc.

      My advice is to pat the crib, encourage him to lay down. Be very unemotional and do NOT look him in the eye. Then be consistent. Go sit down and wait a few minutes. When he stands, close your eyes and say “time to sit down”. Wait a second, go over and pat the mattress, hold his fingers away from the crib so he sits down on his own, smile and tuck him in, but try not to make prolonged eye contact. Then go and sit back down. You just have to “win”. It may take a while, but eventually he’ll get the message, and stay laying down. As long as you don’t engage him too much. Does that help?

    1. I’m so thankful to hear that it blessed you Erin!! I just gave you the information, you get all the cheers and awards for actually using it! So well done, friend! That was BY FAR the hardest part! 🙂

  38. This method is working great for us but I have a question. When we’re in the room or going back in, should we put his pacifier back in? This is usually an instant fix after he’s cried for a few minutes but I don’t want him to need us for that every night and throughout the night. If not, should we try it before picking him up when he’s hysterical?

    1. Yep, absolutely pick him up before he’s hysterical. You want to get to him before he’s too far gone, otherwise he’ll be really hard to get to calm down. That said, if you pick him up and he’s instantly quiet – the boy needs an Oscar because he played you. If that happens, try to wait a little longer next time.

      Also, once he’s calmed down, you’ll want to put him back into the crib drowsy but awake – which means he’s going to cry when he lays down, because you just did the very thing he doesn’t want you to do. This is normal. You haven’t failed. 🙂 99% of the time if you can hold off picking him again for 15-20 minutes, the baby will fall asleep. (And even if he only falls asleep for 10 minutes before waking and needing to be soothed, that’s a WIN because he did, in fact, put himself to sleep. Build on the little victories!)

      If he’s older than 18-20 weeks and is ready for sleep coaching (meaning he’s past his 4-5 month developmental spurt), than I would start having him practice putting the binky in his mouth during the day, like a game. Then get into the practice of putting the binky in his hand, not his mouth, so he can begin to learn what to do with it. Then leave a pile in the crib at night, so he can always find one when he needs one. Make sense?

    2. Awesome, I will definitely start teaching him to do it himself! He is 7mo old and we are on night 5 of the sleep shuffle 🙂 He goes down drowsy but awake and is okay for about a minute, then starts to cry and his paci falls out. The last two nights he’s gotten almost hysterical and we have shhh’ed him and put the paci back in and he’s gone to sleep after doing this one-three times (the first few nights we had to pick him up some). He hasn’t woken up the last two nights but the first two we were up and down. We would go in and put the paci in and he immediately fell back to sleep. Since he won’t learn how to put the paci in himself in the next day or two, if he wakes up in the middle of the night we’ll continue to put it in for him right away for now and teach him how to do it himself during the day? Is that what you would recommend? Or should we let him cry a little while first? I don’t want him to rile himself up at 3am either 🙂 Thanks so much for the help!!

    3. I think your instincts are perfect on this, Erin. Help him practice during the day by putting the pacifier in his hand, and then encouraging him to finish the trip. Then leave a bunch of binkies in the crib for him to “find” as needed. If you know the pacifier will immediately calm him, I would go in right away and put it in right away while you work on helping him learn to do it for himself. Another option is to try something like the WubbaNub. It sits on his little tummy and will hold it in place when he’s not sucking. It could also double as a lovey, if he attaches to it!

  39. Hi Heather/Danielle,

    Sorry if this has been asked before, but I have a question about the first night waking of my 6 months old son. I’ve read the book of the Sleep Lady and my son goes to sleep on his own for the past 2-3 weeks (any time of the day as long as he is not overtired). I have now decided to put him on a somewhat predictable schedule as advised by the Sleep Lady and this is the third night of my effort. But I noticed that EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT he wakes up an hour later after I put him to bed and breastfeeds, then goes right back to sleep (around 7.30PM is the time I lay him in his cot, there is no problem at all at falling asleep at that time, it’s about 2 hours after his last nap ends and about 20 minutes after I breastfeed him the second time during that awake time+ he takes only about 10 minutes to fall asleep in his cot without being rocked/touched/shushhed). So my question is: Why is this such a soon waking happening? Is he truly hungry? I do not know what else may be the reason, maybe separation anxiety?? Totally confused, please help and advise as to how I should handle this waking. Oh and perhaps I should mention, he wakes up about 2-3 times a night including this an-hour-later waking before he is up for the day at around 7AM.

    Thanks in advance, ladies, your site is amazing and I derived so much useful knowledge from here!

    All the best wishes,

    Malika

    1. Malika,

      It can be such a mystery sometimes trying to figure out why our little ones do what they do! 🙂
      I’m wondering if you have a sound machine in your nursery and if not, perhaps that would help. Do you have other little ones in the house that might be causing this one hour later wake time? Take a look at this article where Heather talks about factors to consider in the nursery.
      One other thing you should consider is if he is going through a growth spurt. If so, this will soon take care of itself!

  40. Hi!

    Thanks for you advice…loved reading through your posts…my son has just turned one…he was a horrible sleeper when he was a baby so I sleep trained him at 8 months…used the chair method as suggested…it worked wonders….but ever since he turned one he s waking up two/three times at night again! i ll go in comfort him and all the hysterical crying stops,he sleeps again  (sometimes only to wake 10 mins later…so i repeat)…he does not put himself down to sleep before i go in…any suggestions? for naps and start of night time i just lay him down in crib after a routine and leave the r00m, he sleeps without problems… THANKS SO MUCH!

    1. yepp most probably :)…its been going on for 3 weeks already …. he slps a whole night once in a while but does it again the following day 🙂 Thanks again for your time 🙂

  41. Hi, I was wondering how you can tell if a baby is truly hungry or just wants to feed out of habit in the middle of the night? My 15 week old baby who is 15 pounds was sleeping from 7 PM to 4 AM until about two weeks ago. It started going back to 3 AM then 2 AM and last night was midnight then again at 4:30 and she was screaming. I try the pacifier and making shushing noises but the only thing that calms her down is her bottle. She does eat all 6 ounces and is still awake after the feeding, which leads me to believe she is truly hungry. However if she was sleeping longer before, shouldn’t she be able to do that now? If so, how can I stretch her back out till 4 AM again? I have a 3 and 5 year old as well and I need all the sleep I can get!!

    1. Monika,

      Sounds like she is in a growth spurt! When she gets on the other side of it I am sure you will get more sleep again. Just make sure you keep those feedings really boring (don’t make a lot of eye contact or talk to her) or she might decide she likes to party in the middle of the night! 🙂

  42. My baby girl is just 8 days shy of 3 months old. I am a first time parent.
    We have no problems of falling asleep at about 8 30 every night. Tonight was no different, normally she wakes anywhere from 12 30 to 2 30 for a feeding, then right back to sleep. Well tonight she ate at about 7 15 fell asleep at 8 30 and she still hasn’t woke up to eat and it’s 5 30 now. Should I be worried and should I wake her to feed her or leave her alone? This is the first time she has done this.

    1. Jennie,

      Wow, this brings back memories. My first-born was a good sleeper too and like you, I wondered if I should wake him to feed him (I confess that I did for a while). My advice, if your little one is gaining well, never wake a sleeping baby! 🙂 Of course we all check and double check to make sure our little one is ok. After you are sure your little one is sleeping peacefully, go back to bed and thank God for the extra sleep for you! Oh, and if you are nursing and get too uncomfortable you can pump or…make an exception and wake that baby! Congratulations on your little one (and what a wonderful thing to get a good sleeper for your first)!

  43. Hi I have a an almost 5 month old and am having trouble  deciding whether her night time feeding is a necessity or a prop. She goes to sleep between 7.00 -7.20 pm at night and I shush her while she is in the crib. If she takes her naps well during the day (approx 3-3.30 hours total) then she wakes up between 3.00 – 3.30 am. We feed her approx 5 ounces  (half breast half formula) with all the lights turned on and then she wakes up at 7.00 am.

    We have tried feeding her in dim lighting at night but she falls asleep on the bottle and does not finish her feed. As a result she wakes up before 6.00 am. I have tried giving her 4 ounces but again she wakes up before 6.00 am.

    My thinking is that she still needs her night time feed but family members are telling me that she does not know how to sleep on her own and therefore she wakes up to feed but doesn’t really need it.

    I would appreciate thoughts / comments.

    1. Tammy, the BEST person to answer that question (medically-speaking) is your pediatrician. He will be able to gauge her growth rate. That said, if you’re breastfeeding you may want to keep at least one feeding to help your supply stay strong. No matter what the doctor says, though, if you feel she’s not ready to drop the feeding, don’t feel like you have to or she can’t learn how to sleep on her own. It’s not all-or-nothing. I’ve done sleep coaching with tons of parents who still keep a feeding at night. 🙂

      I think your instincts on the early waking are also very good. Waking before 6am is often because baby is too tired when you put her down at night. (Strange but true.) Try to catch her waketime windows throughout the day. (Most babies this age are sleepy again after only 1.5 hours of being awake.)

      If you’re wanting more help beyond this article, attending one of my Sleep Coaching Workshops is worth considering During this workshop, we would talk back and forth about her daytime routine, trying to see why she’s overtired at bedtime, and then discuss night weaning strategies and how to help her learn how to fall asleep without having to nurse to sleep (or fall asleep on the bottle.) If that’s something that interests you, here are all the details. Keep in mind, that I do offer them every month, so if this month isn’t working, you can subscribe and I’ll let you know the next month’s dates.

  44. Can this method be implemented aftert trying another cry it out method (which was simply leaving her in her crib to cry until the hysterical started and I went in to soothe and caved in most times and just brought her into bed and nursed her). I never did the chair method but I want to try it. My baby is almost 6 months old. She has slept for a few 4 hour stretches randomly but from the beginning we do-slept in the same bed so I think it’s habit to be cuddled and warm. She misses that when she is alone in her crib. I want my bed back! Help:)

    1. Tanya,

      You can absolutely try this method now! Go for it! I also want to make sure you know about Heather’s sleep workshops. If you end up needing more individualized help this would be perfect for you.

  45. Hello all, I am in need of some help with my 10 month old baby boy. He does not go to sleep on his own at all.. he needs to be nursed, rocked or patted in my arms (or patted by dad or grandma in bed). It’s my own doing since I nursed him to sleep his whole life, but he still wakes up 2-4 times a night and sometimes nursing does not get him back to sleep. I do not think that CIO will work for him as he gets too agitated easily and quickly stands up in the crib and gnaws at the rails of the crib. I also think he’s teething… What can I do? Every night for the past week the only way I could get a steady 3 hours of sleep was to bring him to our bed. If he woke up, he would just see me and go back to sleep (no need to nurse). How can I break him of the “nursing/rocking/patting to sleep habit” and to get him to soothe himself when he wakes at night? If we can’t try the sleep stumble when he’s teething, when could I ever do it? he always seems to be teething. THanks for your help.

    1. Kyra,

      It sounds like one of Heather’s sleep workshops would be perfect for you. Take a look here for details. I am sure it would be a great help to you!

      In the meantime, take a look at this article for some helpful hints to try with your little guy. You can also follow this link to find more information on sleep (!), here’s hoping you get more of it very soon!

  46. Hi!!!

    This great, thank you for putting all of this information together! I’m having an issue. I’m starting the sleep shuffle tonight with my almost 8 month old (who usually sleeps with me, after I hold her until she’s asleep and when she wakes up at night I nurse her…I know I’m terrible

    1. Shannon,

      OH my, you are not terrible! I have a three month old who also needs to be nursed at night. That’s not uncommon at this age. The good news is that your baby’s still itty bitty – so you can enjoy the sleep that she’s getting without feeling guilty. At this age, the emphasis is on that she’s GETTING sleep, and less on how that sleep is achieved. (All things can be re-adjusted later on, nothing is ever so set in stone that it can be fixed!)
      However, if you need a change take a look at this article on sleep for some helpful hints.

  47. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for the great article. I have a 7 month old that is currently sleeping throughout the night in OUR bed. Every time we try to put her in her crib she wakes up and will not settle back to sleep. Also, there is no way she will lay down during the day. She naps great…on my chest. She had reflux quite bad and we used to keep her upright for at least 30 minutes after eating, so she got used to falling asleep on us. She is no longer on medication for reflux and is doing well there. She also sleeps with a pacifier and settles easily if she wakes at all during the night with that. I feel like we are doing everything wrong. Is it too late to break these habits and get her sleeping on her own in her crib?

    1. Amy,
      Sorry for the delay in replying. I am answering for Heather as her site has taken off in the last few months and she has asked me to come on to assist.
      No, it is NOT too late to help her transition to her crib. You can do it! Take a look at Heather’s articles about sleep here

  48. Heather,
    My daughter will be 6months next week. Up until she was 4 months she was easy to put to bed. We did the Fisher Price Rock n Play for the first few months because of colic and gas but had a smooth transition to the crib with in her third month.During this time she would wake twice for a bottle. Once around 1-2am and then again at 3-4am, which I can handle fine. Somewhere in her fourth month it all fell apart. We didn’t change her night routine at all. Now she is difficult to put to sleep and wakes constantly, very seldom does she only wake twice. When she started giving us issues we found that she bottle fed to sleep nicely which led to its own issues. A couple weeks ago she got a bad cold which let to me holding her upright in the recliner. She is just now able to sleep with out her nose plugging. During this sick time she got comfy rocking to sleep 🙁 She also rolls all around and is a very active sleeper. I know she can settle herself back to sleep because I have witnessed it a couple times recently but how do I get her to fall asleep with out the bottle or rocking and help her settle during her many wake ups. Please note I have a 8 yr old also that is right next door and I cant have her sleep interrupted with screaming. My little one has quite a temper and can carry on for quite a bit. Sorry if I rambled….sleep deprivations has its consequences 🙂

    1. Jen, firstly it’s very normal for good sleep habits to go out the window around 4-5 months. That’s a HUGE developmental period. Have you noticed she’s a lot more alert than she was before? 🙂 As far as putting her down without feeding her to sleep, I would add something in your routine between the the feeding and bed. For example, feed her and then give her a bath (if that makes her drowsy – don’t if it gets her excited), or read a book, or change her diaper for bed, etc. This way you are starting to break the association between feeding and bed. You can also feed her with the light on, anything to help keep her awake during the feeding. Then put her down drowsy and start working through the steps of the Shuffle I listed above.

      If you are still having issues, I would love to talk with you one-on-one over the computer in one of my sleep coaching workshops that I do every month. (Click here for more information on those.) It’s going to be a challenging few weeks, but if you are consistent you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.

      Btw, you did exactly the right thing when you rocked her in the recliner. Sick babies need extra TLC, and that’s exactly what you did. These things are challenging, but they ARE fixable with a little time and consistency. Hang in there friend!

    2. Thanks Heather. I now have a new sleep issue to add to the list lol! The day after she turned 6 months she learned to get up on her hands and knees. Needless to say she now practices this ALL the time. We have moved the crib matress down to avoid falling issues but now naps are terrible!
      I will revisit the sleep shuffle and see if this will help us. Right now it is Saturday at 9am, my little one has been up since 5:15am. ALMOST had her to sleep twice but no dice.

  49. I could use some help. I have a 15 moth old breastfed baby who has never slept through the night. She currently nurses to sleep for naps and bed. And naps are only on me (though she will nap at day care 3 days a week). Nights involve 3-5 night wakings which end up with me letting baby sleep in my arms in a recliner from about 4 am to wake up at 7-8. Her best sleep is on me. 3 months ago we successfully got her to go to sleep in her own for bed and naps using the sleep last shuffle. Then she started day care and it she ended up worse than she was before sleep training. She is currently fighting a lingering stuffy nose, which I’m sure doesn’t help but I want to get her sleeping better as soon as she is healthy. Any suggestions? She has never been able to be put down drowsy. She screams when we put her in her crib unless she’s totally asleep. And we did have to fight hysterical crying the first time. I just don’t want to keep having to train her and have so many tears every time there is a change in her routine. But I am exhausted and I have no life. And I’d really like a glass of wine (but with waking every 2 hours …) I just need some help. Thanks.

    1. Alex, have you tried putting something in between the nursing and getting ready for bed? For example, nursing and then a bath or getting dressed for bed, or something to help break the association of needing to nurse in order to fall asleep? You could also try leaving the light on (so she’s less likely to fall asleep at the breast), or having Dad step in and do the rest of the shuffle after you’re done nursing. As far as the nighttime wakeups go, you could start weaning her off her usual feedings, and then use the Sleep Shuffle for all the wakeups that you’re not feeding. If you need more help, or if you feel you need some more coaching methods, besides just the shuffle, I would be happy to talk with you via the computer and help you create an effective plan in one of my sleep coaching workshops. Hope these things can give you some ideas to try. Hang in there friend!

  50. Help! My 9.5 month old twins are becoming a nightmare. Boy twin was sleeping 10-12 hours straight, but has started waking 1-2 times at nighttime begging for food. Girl twin has consistently woken up 2-4 times a night (also begging for food). They sleep in the same room (I’m thinking about splitting them up as I’m worried that Girl twin is waking up Boy twin!) and generally go down for naps and at bedtime awake with minimal fuss. I just can’t get them to stay asleep or fall back on their own. Would splitting them up help or hinder? Thanks in advance!

    1. Allyson, there are a lot of reasons why a baby this age could suddenly switch the nighttime habits. I hesitate to make any guesses without more information. You could try splitting them up for a few nights and see if that happens. If it’s not working, I would consider signing up for one of my sleep coaching workshops. They are done live, over the computer, so we can talk back and forth together and I can walk you through how to handle these wakeups, and you can share more information – like the methods you’ve used int he past, their growth rate, any medical issues they might have gotten past, whether you’ve gone back to work recently, etc. etc. All are factors that can impact a child’s sleep! Everything is fixable, I’d just need more information to find out exactly which trigger we’re dealing with and then walk through a plan on how to readjust it. 🙂

    2. Thanks Heather! We’re due to move soon so I’ll sign up once were settled into our new home. Not going to try any new training until then as I’m sure the move alone will be overwhelming for my two! 🙂

  51. Love your articles! My 8 mo. old is sleeping fine at daycare, but relies on my “comfort nursing” to put her to sleep at night, and to get her back to sleep the 1 time she wakes up a night anywhere from 2-4 a.m. Part of me wants to keep up the “comfort nursing” as a bonding experience (this is the only time I nurse each day). But am I really doing damage by continuing it? If I am, how do I sleep train with another toddler who needs to be put to bed, a husband who may not be home at the time, and a million things to do after they both go to bed…I feel like I DON’T HAVE TIME! Thx!

    1. Teresa, you’re not doing any damage if you continue – especially if it’s just once a night. It’s very common for babies who are in daycare to wake up at night and seek out a little extra “Mom Time”. 🙂 If that one feeding is something you’re comfortable with, continue it guilt-free. As for sleep coaching with a toddler, this article on the toddler/baby balance may be helpful to you. Hang in there friend, it does get better! In a few short years they’ll be dressing themselves, feeding themselves snacks…keep your eyes on the horizon, and enjoy these moments as they happen. 🙂

  52. Hi Heather,

    I am debating on trying the above ‘shuffle’ method with our daughter. She is 13 months old and we are now having issues getting her to self soothe, therefore, needs rocked to sleep and as of lately, ends up in our bed in the middle of the night because she repeatedly stands up in her crib when we try to comfort her with her in it or wakes up after we put her in her crib if we rock her to sleep. A little background…she always fell asleep with her night time bottle, so we would just plop her in her crib and she would wake up at 5 am for a bottle and then go back to sleep until 7. When she was around 9 months old, we moved in with my in-laws because we were building our home. This is when she started staying awake after her nighttime bottle. There were other children to consider, so crying it out seemed rude, so we rocked her to sleep. We also shared the room with her and she got used to us being there. We had this arrangement for 3 months. She has taken well to going down to 1 bottle, just her night time bottle before bed and is primarily on table foods (baby food here and there – she got her teeth late!). We have tried crying it out, but she is absolutely relentless and would scream for hours no matter what. I know that she definitely has us trained. she is fine when we are in the room and as soon as we pick her up, she stops crying. I just cant handle the crying and crying…she doesn’t stop and i feel horrible and NO ONE sleeps. And because of our own laziness and exhaustion, she ends up in our bed, where she falls asleep instantly and the only person not sleeping is me, because she is now kicking me off the bed. With all of that said, I guess I’m wondering your thoughts? Do you think that this method is possibly effective for our situation? I don’t want to wait too long to correct this, as it has already been long enough! (We have a 3 year old that absolutely spoiled us and fell asleep on his own since day 1 – we are at a loss!)

    Thanks so much for any suggestions!!! 🙂

    1. Kelly, it is definitely fixable. You’re not doomed! 🙂 The Shuffle is a great method, but it’s not the ONLY method. I go over four different kinds of methods in my Sleep Coaching Workshop. I would recommend you take a look at potentially attending one of those. (This month’s workshop registration will be opening up next week.) The workshop allows me to go over your specific child’s sleeping history, and then we work together to come up with a plan that you feel confident about. The only difference between the workshop and my private coaching sessions is 1) you implement the plan yourself (no free follow ups) and 2) it’s a LOT cheaper. 🙂 I love the workshops because I get to talk back and forth with parents and go through their specific issues. Then I show you the different methods and we discuss which method to start out with. All the families who have taken the workshop tell me it was incredibly encouraging and (in many cases) life-changing. It really helps me get up-close-and-personal with each family’s specific situation, making it a lot easier for me to give sleep advice that works!

  53. Hi Heather,

    My husband and I are at a loss of how to help our daughter fall asleep.

    Hannah just turned 6 months old this week and relies on rocking to help her fall asleep for naps and bedtime.

    She had undiagnosed reflux for 13 weeks, until we got her into a paediatrician. Our family doc had wanted her to CIO at 8 weeks when we said she would wake every time we laid her down. She’s finally been on the right dose of Prevacid for the past 3 weeks so her sleep in terms of being uncomfortable has gotten better. That’s where the rocking habit started though, bc we were desperate to get her some sleep…

    Our issue is some nights it will take 10 mins and she’s out for 4-6 hrs (sometimes longer!) w/o a feed. When she does wake to feed, she’s taking a full 5-6oz bottle (not just snacking), but then it’s taking 20mins-2hrs in the middle of the night to get her back to sleep! We’re exhausted…and her naps are short (35 mins) then I hold her for another hour just to make sure she gets good sleep in the daytime. She’s had 1.5hr naps a handful of times in the past week or so, but not consistently.

    Also, we noticed yesterday that her first tooth is right at the surface (can see the white tip). I don’t know how long it will take to poke through, so should we start the sleep training anyways? She’s been “teething” for 3 months now! How do you know when a good time to train is if she’s ALWAYS teething?

    We’ve tried to put her down drowsy but awake a few times in the last month; we’ve tried the shuffle and controlled CIO with check ins every 10 mins but give up after an hour of her wailing (and I mean WAILING) to the point where she’s hyperventilating and we have to rock her to calm her down. She doesn’t seem to self-soothe, she just gets more worked up…

    Our Ped said she’s not super concerned with the rocking, but if Hannah still can’t put herself to sleep by 8-9 months then we’ll have to sleep train her.

    I guess we just don’t know what to do…sleep train? Or leave her be/keep rocking? Start letting her get up after the short naps and hope they sort themselves out?

  54. Good morning,
    At wits end over here. Son is almost 14months old. Has had a host of problems, including severe milk protein allergy (on rx formula called elecare, off it for a month or two now and seems to have outgrown it according to gastroenterologist, in addition to reflux), chronic ear infections resulting in tubes at 6months, severe eczema on scalp, face and body (which has since cleared up with rx help and pediatric dermatologist), worst teether I have ever seen (already has 12 teeth including 4molars). In addition is very attached to me (I am a teacher who is lucky enough to have my aunt watch the kids). If I walk away and am in the same room, hysterics ensue, tears streaming down the face, total distress. Pediatricians said let him cry it out, have tried with no success. (Worth mentioning… I live in a 2family house). He is used to sleeping in bed with us, which I wouldn’t mind, but he thrashes all night, throws his body in his sleep, even sits up with his eyes closed. He climbs on me all night, has to have his face touching mine and usually has a fistful of my hair. He literally pulls my hair all night. It’s horrible. We have tried a lovey, blanket, tethers, teething necklace, ibuprofen for teeth, even Benadryl a couple of times for a few nights when he went spans of a few days with almost no sleep or nap. He sleeps with it for an hour or so then wakes up and cries and screams. We have tried the car, he stays awake. Endured a ride from sesame place in PA back home to NY after being there all day and napping shortly. During the day he is happiest walking around and playing. We even tried sidecar ring the crib, last night was the first night, awful. I barely slept and he threw himself around all night, pulled hair, etc. what do we do??? Please, any advice would be amazing and appreciated.

    Stacy

    1. Stacy, you’re right there’s a LOT going on there. 🙂 The good news is, these are things that can be overcome, especially know that many of his health issues seem to be close to becoming resolved. (Or did I mis-read that?) I would recommend either attending one of my Baby Sleep Workshops, or letting me work with you, one-on-one for several weeks to slowly get him sleeping better on his own. You can see both options detailed on this page. I think, in your situation, that talking with you one-on-one would be best. There’s a lot to cover, and it sounds like doing little things, for several weeks, would be best. We can put things in place to give you immediate support – but HIS coaching will need to be in the “slow and steady wins the race” category, if that makes sense. 🙂

  55. Hi Heather –
    I’m trying to figure out the best way to curb night wakings for my almost-7-month-old. He was a preemie but is now on the normal growth charts and his ped gave us the go-ahead to go down to one night feeding (or none). But lately he’s been waking every two hours to nurse. He’s not hungry b/c it doesn’t last more than 5 minutes and he’s asleep, so I know it’s just for comfort. The problem is me – I’m usually so tired and I know that if I nurse him we’ll both be able to get back to sleep w/in 5 minutes. If I try to soothe him instead of nursing I know we’ll both be up for at least 20-40 minutes of crying. We did the Ferber method at bedtime, but it’s much harder to do in the middle of the night (especially since his crib is in our bedroom)! Any tips beyond soothing techniques/not picking him up/sitting by his crib/etc? Another part of me doesn’t want to completely give up nighttime feeds b/c I feel like he’s growing up too fast and soon enough he won’t need me in the middle of the night anymore, you know? I could handle one nighttime feeding, but I’d rather not get up every 2 hours.

  56. I am struggling with a baby who automatically goes to the hysterical cry. If I pick him up to sooth then put him back down he looses his mind crying! We were rocking to sleep but broke him of that by rubbing his back to sleep. But that isn’t working anymore. He likes to sleep face to face with mom and dad. He also wakes all through the night. He flips on his stomach and can’t flip back…
    I am really confused at what my next step is…

    1. Katie, the first question is how old is your baby? Is he too young to be coached? (Less than 18 weeks.) If he’s younger than that, concentrate on making the nursery a sleep happy place (dark and with a noisemaker) and make sure you’ve shared these things with the doctor to make SURE that there are no medical issues happening – like acid reflux – that could be contributing to the hysterical cry. After doing all that, I would start practicing one a day with the drowsy but awake stage.

  57. Hi Heather,
    I am a first time mom of an 8 month old daughter. She is in great health, not teething yet, and is a fabulous baby throughout the day. I was hoping you could give me some advice and direction on a few things.
    1. My baby usually doesn’t go down for the night until 11 or 12, but then will sleep in until noon! How can I bump up her bedtime without throwing off her routine?
    2. I follow the baby wise method of wake time before bedtime and all of her naps. At one point, around 3 months old, she slept 8 hours a night. However that only lasted about a month and I don’t know how we got off the schedule. She is currently waking up around 3 am and 7 am for her regular 6 oz bottle and then goes right back to sleep. Is it bad that even though it’s only about a ten minute process, I really don’t want to wake up with her twice a night/morning? Should I use the above steps to knock out those extra feedings?
    And just one more quick question. I swaddle my baby and give her a binky then lay her down in the crib awake, but she passes out almost instantly. How can I break the swaddling habit? It’s getting too hot where we live to have her all bundled up. It works like magic, but I’d like for her to fall asleep without me swaddling her. Any suggestions?

    1. Ivory, I think that your nighttime wake-ups are related to her late bedtime. She’s probably overtired by the time she goes to bed. Surprisingly, being too tired at bedtime has been shown to cause more wakeups. (I know. Weird.) I would recommend starting to move her bedtime up. So perhaps put her down at 9:30 for a few nights, then 9:00 for a few nights, then 8:30 for a few nights…etc. until you get to 7-7:30pm Prepare for a difficult week, as she tries to get her circadian rhythm back in place. I would recommend being very liberal with her daytime routine while you work on this nighttime sleep – putting her down for naps, whenever you see she’s getting tired, rather than what time it is. (Does that make sense?) If you’ve been given the green light by your doctor to stop giving her those calories at night, I would use the sleep shuffle at bedtime and then at every wakening during the night. It’s going to be hard, but it will be very much worth it.

      As for you final question, besides the heat, it’s important for you to wean off that swaddle now because it’s a safety hazard. This post on how to wean the swaddle will hopefully give you some helpful suggestions! The binky, though, is fine for her to keep. It will actually help her self-soothe and learn how to fall asleep on her own. Good luck friend! I hope this can help!

  58. Heather- I’m on the 5th night of your approach to get my 6 month old LO to fall asleep on his own in his crib and he is waking every hour… He has always woke about every hour or so. There has been a few nights were he would sleep a for few hour stretch, but it’s been awhile since we’ve had one of those nights. Prior to sleeping in his crib, he would spend a few hours of the night in the rock n play next to our bed, then the rest of the night in the bed with my husband and myself. Not sure what to do to help him learn how to fall asleep on his own and put himself back to sleep. Im open to a “gentle”CIO method. Any suggestions or insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated! TIA

    1. Firstly, did you talk over with your doctor to make sure there aren’t any outstanding medical issues for the wakeups? Things like reflux or sleep apnea? I would need more information about your situation and health background to give more specific suggestions on what could be going on here. I am going to be holding some sleeping workshops so I can work with parents one-on-one in July. If you’re not already a subscriber, you may want to sign up (using the form on the right), subscribers will get the first spots/opportunities to sign up. I’m hoping these workshops will allow a more personable approach to working through some of these kinds of hiccups! Participants will fill out a form that I can look through ahead of time, I will give a short presentation on the basics, and then we’ll dive in deeper to specific problems and you’ll create your sleep plan. (I’m really excited about it!)

  59. Hi Heather. Love your site! We’re having some sleep issues with our 6 1/2 month old. She was co-sleeping in a ‘side car’ co sleeper and things were ok , so we transitioned her to the crib last night. She was great sleeping from about 8-5. A record! (she was waking to feed and snuggle a couple times a night in our room) our bad habit – nurse to sleep. She will not go in the crib drowsey. As soon as I put her in the crib she wakes up and wants to play. Big issue here: she is pulling herself up to stand. So I am constantly picking her up and lying her down. A game for her and a nightmare for me! And Napping only works in the Ergo or in my arms. Suggestions??

    1. Nicole, A great way to start to break that nursing-to-sleep habit, is to slide something in between the nursing and sleep. So nurse and read a book, or take a bath, or hand over to Dad and have him put her down. Just make sure the nursery is very dark and there’s a noisemaker going on to drown out interesting out-of-the-room sounds. You want the bedroom as boring as possible. The crib should also be boring. No fun stuffed animals to fiddle with. I figured out that the bumper I was using for Elena (with a cute pattern) was actually stimulating her, so I had to turn it around so it was a solid color. (Sensitive kids!)

      If you are doing the shuffle above, pat the mattress when she stands and encourage her to sit down with your voice. Also, make sure she can sit down on her own by practicing the stand-to-sit movements outside the crib. I would sit there and encourage her to sit with my hand. If she doesn’t, I would ignore her and lean back and close my eyes – occasionally patting the mattress again “Sleepytime Lauren, lie down sweetheart”. Eventually she’ll get tired of the game (potentially crying out of frustration because you’re not playing) and sit down on her own, then I would gently help her lay down (after she’s given up and sat down on her own). Keep in your mind: I WILL WIN THIS. YOU WILL LOSE. A little stubbornness is a great asset in parenting! 🙂

      As far as napping, I will refer you to my nearly 2-hour Napping Know-How webinar. It covers everything in much greater detail than I can here in a comment!

  60. Hi, our 4 month old has never slept very well to this point. We have been swaddling him up until the past few nights as he’s started rolling and seems comfy on his side. The 2 nights before removal of the swaddle he slept 6 hours straight, with a feed at 4 or 5 a.m. He seems to be getting enough during the day that we don’t think he really needs the feed. But my real question here is that we were told that he had some reflux abut 2 weeks into life. So we were told to burp every ounce and hold him upright for 30-40 minutes. He falls asleep during his wake before bed feed and night/dream feed as we’re holding him for that long. Is this affecting the put down drowsy but awake in the crib? He does seem to wake up just a bit when we put him down but should we wake him a bit more so that he knows he’s sleeping in the crib and not in our arms? He has been waking about 1-2 hours after his before bed feed and then the same after his night/dream feed. He did fall back asleep last night around 2:30 a.m. after wiggling, kicking and some “talking” and fake crying. We don’t really notice much on the reflux if at all these days and his spitting up has dropped to a minimum also. He’s not on any drugs for it either as it obviously wasn’t that bad. Do you have any suggestions for helping him sleep and are we doing something wrong with still holding him that long after feeds? Thanks so much, first time parents who feel like we’re doing things wrong!!!!!!!!;-)

    1. Kara, I love this sentence, “He does seem to wake up just a bit when we put him down but should we wake him a bit more so that he knows he’s sleeping in the crib and not in our arms?” Your mom instincts are perfect! That is called the “Wake and Sleep Method” and it is exactly what I was going to suggest. Let him fall asleep, and then when you put him down inside the crib gently jiggle him so that he opens his eyes and looks at you. This way he sees that he’s in his crib, and that you’re about to leave. It will also help him get used to the “falling asleep without mom” feeling that he needs to learn. You are doing everything perfectly. 🙂

      There’s a lot going on at the 4-5 month age range developmentally, so always check with your pediatrician to make sure that he doesn’t need any calories at night. Just to make sure. Otherwise, I think you are doing wonderful!

  61. Hi Heather!
    I am a big fan of your website, sometimes I feel like I visit it daily! So my little guy is 3 months old and is able to sleep from 9:30PM to 7:30AM with no feedings in between. He is still sleeping in his little sleeper next to me, and I want to move him into his own room where it is darker and I think he will sleep a little bit later in the morning. He already does all of his daily naps in the crib and doesn’t have a problem sleeping in there, but here is where the problem comes in. He LOVES his paci! When it falls out it is only a matter of time before he wakes up and starts crying for it. This happens during his naps and during the night. During the night it isn’t a big deal, because I just need to roll over and put it back in, but if he is in his own room I have to get up and put it back in. So I am looking for advice on what to do. DO I just let him cry it out, and if so for how long? Do I keep going in a putting it back in? Should I follow this same advice when it comes to his nap times? Thank you for all your awesome blogs, I love reading them they are so funny, and helpful!
    Thanks again, Courtney

    1. Courtney! I’m so glad you love the website! (Yes, visit daily! You will quickly become my favorite reader! haha!) The BEST thing you can do is to start helping him with his pincer grasp (picking up items with his thumb and forefinger). Lay the binky on the floor during the day and help him practice picking it up and putting it in his mouth. The sooner he learns THAT the better off you’ll be. That said, it’s going to be a while, since he’s still pretty little. In the meantime, I’ve heard some parents say the Wubbanub was helpful in keeping the pacifier inside the mouth at night. That’s an option as well.

      I wouldn’t let him cry-it-out at this age. CIO is only used as a behavioral modification technique, and at this young of an age he’s too little to know what behaviors he’s supposed to be doing differently. This usually means a LOT of crying, with no lessons actually being learned. Does that make sense?

    2. Yes that does make sense! So should I move him to his crib at night, and when he starts fussing go in and put the paci back in, or keep him in the sleeper next to me til he doesn’t fuss at all through out the night? I do have a wubba so I will be trying that during naptime today! Thanks again for your advice!

    3. That is totally up to you. This is a great time to start getting him used to sleeping in the nursery. I’ve also found that sometimes when a baby is the room with us (as mom) we tend to be “tuned in” to little noises and things, and jump to soothe when really he’s just adjusting through a sleep cycle and doesn’t need any intervention. Perhaps you could try it for a few days and just see how it goes. If you find yourself going in there too much, you could always move him back to the sleeper for a few weeks and then try again. 🙂

  62. Hi heather!
    I have a 14 month old son who only nurses at night and just about two weeks ago we decided it was time to stop co-sleeping. He had never slept more than 3.5 hours straight. We started with the chair method, it turned into me on the floor next to the crib and my husband at the head of the crib. He’s doing great but now in rubbing into the problem of how to get out of the room? Once I put him in his crib he plays for an hour at least. And trust me he is tired! Or he falls asleep nursing (while trying to keep him awake) wakes up when I try to put him in the crib and just plays! Looking for some advice on how to start working my & my husbands way out of the room and to get him to go to sleep not play for an hour although playing if I’m not laying on the floor next to the crib would be ok?
    Thank you,
    Becca!

    1. Becca,

      Firstly, I would make sure the room is as dark as possible. Hang sheets on the windows if you have too. I would also have a noisemaker or a fan going in the room to help drown out stimulating sounds. Perhaps separate your nursing from sleeping by having Dad finish the bedtime routine and put him down drowsy but awake into the crib. Or nurse him, and then read a few books or do a bath to break the sleep-association. Just to make sure, is one of you sleeping all night on the floor while he’s in the crib? If so, you can jump into the first step of the Shuffle Method. Sit by the crib and put him down drowsy but awake, occasionally shushing and patting him if necessary. Then start doing the other positions throughout the week to help him get used to having you further and further away. Then, when he wakes in the middle of the night, sit back in the position you were using when you put him to bed. There will be tears at first, because you’re helping him learn a new skill (which isn’t fun). If you feel he’s getting hysterical, go ahead and pick him to calm him, but make sure you put him down when he’s quiet, before he’s sleeping. The first three nights are always the hardest, but it should get easier after that. Try to be as consistent as possible, inconsistency can lead to a LOT more tears and a longer “training” period. I hope this can help get you started on the right path! 🙂

    2. Thank you heather! I will be changing the curtains in his room first thing tomorrow! I don’t sleep in his room I sit next to his crib until he falls asleep but once he’s asleep I leave and return as soon as he wakes up, should I sleep in there?

    3. If he’s not fussing when you put him down for bed, you could probably just start the shuffle. However, if he seems confused that you’re not sleeping with him, you may want to slow things down and co-sleep with him on the floor for a night, then put him in the crib and sleep on the floor, and then start the shuffle method (with the chair by the crib). Does that make sense? But if he doesn’t seem to mind the crib, you could skip all that and start with the chair by the crib. Totally depends on what you think would be easiest for him.

  63. I will definitely run it by the pediatrician before I cut out ALL night feedings, but I’m confident that he’ll survive with just one..now if I could just get HIM to realize it. (He’s a BIG boy, born at 9lbs and already weighing 19 lbs). I think I’ll try the dream feed and start cutting back on the ounces in his 4 AM bottle. You mentioned that he may skip the 4 AM feeding on his own if I do the dream feed…why would he skip it then, but not if I just feed him when he usually wakes up around 10:30ish? Just a little confused…as usual haha

  64. Actually, I’m confused…all.the.time. hah! I have a nagging feeling that I’m confusing the heck out of him. I tried to make a plan to reduce his feedings from several to just two by only feeding him every 5 hours and if he wakes up in between, soothe him the best I can via the shuffle. I just worry that he’s not ready to quit eating at night because he does actually finish his 4:00 AM bottle. Is anyone else this confused all the time? Maybe it’s just me….

    1. No, it’s not you. Trying to figure out how YOUR baby works is always a challenge! I would figure out when you want to try to keep a feeding (first after midnight, or a set time that you wake him for) and then start weaning off all the other feedings. If you’re breastfeeding, try cutting back on the feedings you want to drop by 2 minutes every night. If you’re using formula, start cutting back by an ounce every 2 days. This way he’s slowly getting used to only getting one solid feeding at night. (All of this, of course, should be done only after you’ve talked it over with your doctor and he’s given the green-light to start limiting nighttime feeds!)

  65. Thanks for the advice! I’ve tried keeping him up until 7:00-7:30, but have a really hard time getting him to take a late afternoon nap so sometimes he’s absolutely pooped by 6:00. I’ll keep an eye out for teething, but I’m not sure that’s it because he’s been doing this for so long. As for the dream feed, would this be the only time I feed him all night? I tried cutting out the 4:00 AM feeding last week because I know he’s physically capable, but he was absolutely inconsolable for 2 hours until I finally got him up for the day…we’re talking purple-faced screaming monster that probably woke the neighbors. I let this go on for a few days before I gave up and went back to feeding him. We were miserable. Is that normal during the shuffle? I have a hard time knowing when its time to take a break if something isn’t working without confusing him more. Thanks!

    1. I would see what happens if you do a dream feed at night. If you do one RIGHT before you fall asleep (for me, that’s around 11pm) than he may surprise you and skip that 4am feeding on his own. In my napping webinar I talk about the third “Emergency Nap” in the afternoon. Do whatever you have to do to help him sleep, while trying to avoid his usual sleep crutch. Sometimes that may mean holding him for 45 minutes so he naps on you, or taking him for a walk or drive in the late afternoon.

  66. Good Morning Heather,
    My little one will be 6 months old on the 10th. We used a modified version of the “shuffle” to transition him to his crib. He has been falling asleep on his own for both naps and at night for a few weeks now (yay!!!), however he STILL wakes up a ton at night! For example, last night he was asleep by 6:20, woke up screaming every five minutes or so from 8:40-9:30. Woke up again at 11:40-I fed him a bottle and changed his diaper. Woke up again at 2:00 and screamed off and on until 3:00. Woke up again at 4:30- I fed him a smaller bottle and he finally went back to sleep at 5:30 (no real crying this time, just rolling around and “talking” to himself). He was up for the day at 6:55. That was a pretty typical night. I’m exhausted and not sure what to do from here. What gives???

    1. Martha,

      There’s a huge growth spurt at 6 months, so that could be a factor here. Also, I would try to move his bedtime to closer than 7-7:30 if you can. Going to bed too early, or being put down to sleep too tired, can actually cause MORE nighttime wakeups. It’s important to find the “Sweet spot” of putting him down at the right time with the right “sleepy state”. Shoot for a 6 or 7 on the sleepy scale (10 being asleep). At this age they are usually napping 3 times a day, with the last nap between 4-5. Watch for his sleepy cues about 1.5-2 hours after wakening.

      Double check for teething, that can cause the “instant screaming” wakeups sometimes. I would also use the shuffle steps for when he wakes up, going in to calm him down quickly, then sit until he’s asleep in your usual spot. This may help him learn how to go asleep more confidently when he hits these partial wakening periods.

      A final thing you may want to try is doing a dreamfeeding at around 9:00 – slip in and feed him a bottle when he’s still “sleeping”, and put him back down when he’s still asleep. This is a great way to help him learn that waking + screaming doesn’t always mean a bottle, but that you will give him what he needs when he needs it. Does that make sense?

  67. Oh ok..so now that he knows to soothe himself is it not necessary for me me to get him almost asleep before laying him down

    1. No, you want him at around a 6-7 on the the “I’m asleep” sleepy scale. This way he can start to learn what it feels like to actually fall asleep on his own. This helps you at night, since he will have what’s called “partial awakenings” throughout the night. Learning how to fall back asleep on his own will keep him from waking YOU up so you can help him. Hope that makes sense…

  68. I sure will! I do have one final question…I hate to bring it up because I am so happy with the results but I am curious…now tht my son sleeps so well during his naps and at night I have run into an issue with getting him to the point of layin him down…I know he is so tired and I will feed and rock and walk him but he now fights it longer…it has now takes me about an hour to get him almost asleep…again it’s so worth my night time sleep I hate to complain but just wondering if u had any suggestions

    1. It’s hard to say because that could be related to many things. One thing that’s common, though, is that he may just want you to leave him alone. Sometimes parents can do too much, and it stimulates the baby and keeps them up. That’s a temperament/personality issue, though. You could try it. I remember my then-23 month old Elena standing up at the crib pointing, and I thought she was being so sweet, until she grunted on her paci and I finally understood that she was pointing at the door because she wanted me to leave!! lol Still makes me laugh. I “got the message” for sure. 🙂

  69. Hi Heather,
    Great website, so many useful tips!
    My 12 week old has been managing to sleep through the night (8pm-7am) fairly consistently, sometimes waking once between 2-4am for a feed. Problem is, I rock her to sleep. Her daytime naps have been getting harder, catnapping for 30 mins in her crib, yet she can nap up to 4 hours in her stroller or carseat.
    I am torn as to whether I should try and teach her to fall asleep on her own and jeopardize the already great nights in order to get better daytime naps? And should I eliminate the night time feed when she does wake?

    1. Thanks Leah! Glad you’re enjoying the website! At 12 weeks, I would continue with what you’re doing so she can get the good rest. Here’s something you could try every other day (so she still is getting sleep). Let her fall asleep on you, and then move her over to a stationary sleeper. Then you can start cutting back on the rocking so you’re rocking to get her drowsy and then putting her down awake (but that will be a few weeks from now). Does that make sense? A gentle way to help transition her? Don’t do any “Training” at this point – I would think of it in terms of “Shaping” – where if she cries you’re attending to her, but trying little things to help her get used to the idea of sleeping on her own, does that make sense? Don’t eliminate that night feed unless the doctor suggests she’s ready and you feel she doesn’t need it (also may want to check with a LC if your breastfeeding, as cutting it out can affect supply).

    2. Thanks Heather, I’m glad I don’t need to stress for now about getting training going.
      I did read your recommendations for another commenter, about trying to accustom her to less rocking slowly, letting her fall asleep without me moving. I will be trying that more over the next while for sure. I did witness her fall asleep all on her own in her crib this morning after a feed, so I know it’s possible!
      When she does wake in the night, should I go to her right away or should I let her be for 10 min? There have been a couple times that if she isn’t hysterical she may go back to sleep.
      Aside from the rocking, the hardest thing for me is figuring out the timing to put her down for her naps. She is hard to calm when I do attempt, thus the rocking, but perhaps that’s because I’ve left it too long? She can stay awake happily for 1-2 hours, so it’s hard to get a sense of exactly when she’s ready within that time frame. So many variables!

    3. Leah, sounds like a plan! I think your instincts on the wakeups are perfect. If she’s not escalating, go head and see if she’ll self-adjust for a few minutes. If it seems her cries are getting more intense, hop in there quickly to cut things off. Two hours is a bit on the long side for a baby that young. I would start looking for her sleepy signs at around 1 to 1.5 hours after waking. Here’s a free download of the usual estimated “waketimes” for babies at various ages. I hope it can help you now and in the future as she grows!

  70. I just wanted to write back to say THANK U THANK U THANK U!! In less than a week my very strong willed son was sleepin all night in his crib!! U are so amazing!!! If not for stumbling on this sight I’m sure my night nurser would still b waking me up 3-6 times a night AT LEAST!!! Thank u!!!!!

    1. Cortney! I’m so very thankful to hear this has helped you! If you don’t mind, please share what you’ve learned in this site with your friends! Still trying to tell the world we’re here! 🙂 Enjoy your good rest my friend, you’ve earned it! 🙂

  71. Hi heather I hustled wanted to tell u we are on day four and are having great results! Thank u so much!!! I had a question tho..since I have started the sleep trining my son has been more tired and needing an extra nap thro the day..is this normal? He seems to be sleeping better than he did before..

    1. Yay Cortney! So glad to hear that! Yes, that’s normal. His little body is “adjusting” to the new way things are being done. Continue to use his cues throughout the day, you’re doing great! Just don’t let him sleep past 5:00 (if he’s younger than 6 months) or 4:30 (if he’s older than 6 months) or he may not be ready for a bedtime at 7-7:30. It’s perfectly fine for the 3rd nap to be shorter – even 30 minutes if necessary. It’s there to fill in the gap between the 2nd nap and bedtime – so he doesn’t get overtired, making him harder to get to sleep and stay asleep.

  72. Hi Heather, what will be a good time to try this training for premature babies… and what do you do while they get old enough so that you don’t create unhealthy habits? Our baby girl was born 11 weeks early and she is now 16 weeks actual age and 5 weeks corrected age. she has bad reflux and is on medication and she feeds every 3 hrs. We manage to put her in her moses basket for about 1-2 hrs if she is first deep asleep at night after 2 am till about 4-5 and we basically carry her around and cuddle her all day to help her nap. Are we doing something wrong and is something we can start doing to help her get healthier sleeping habits in the future. thanks!

    1. Nadia, I would be in good communication with your doctor, and start when he/she feels that your little girl is ready. If she’s NOT ready, you’re going to have a lot more crying and it will take longer. It’s best to wait until the reflux is under control and she’s older than 16 weeks (corrected age).

      You’re not doing anything wrong – you’re being GREAT parents to little girl who doesn’t feel very good right now. If you can start putting her in a gentle swing for naps, that may free up your arms. Perhaps testing to see which type of swing she does better in. This swing goes forward and back, AND side to side so you can test both. I would also see if you can do “Shifts” with your husband/partner, this way one of you can hopefully get rest, while they other one is “on duty”.

      I hope this can help you Nadia! (BTW, when I was growing up, ALL my dolls were named “Nadia”. A beautiful name!) 🙂

    2. Dear Heather, thanks for the advice and for the heads up. You are brilliant at making us mums feel good about ourselves. I spoke with the doctor/ developmental coordinator and she advised us not to worry about self soothing at this stage and not to let baby cry for long and burn calories in distress, as she needs to catch up with her weight and motor skills first ( she still has a bad startle). So we have been given the green light to carry and nurse baby as much as she needs it now. Will read your article again once she gets bigger and stronger and will report back.

    3. Nadia, I’m so glad you checked! That’s the danger with writing a post like this…every situation is different! Another reason why every reader should always start with their doctor’s advice. Yes, please keep us posted! xo

  73. I had done this with my son and after about a month he was putting himself to sleep no problem but the he started teething and we had to abandon ship on sleeping training. Now I’m wondering how we can start back up because now he will go absolutely crazy if I even approach his crib at nap time. He’s almost 6 months and now he won’t go to sleep unless he’s nursed

    1. Anna, you absolutely can start back up, but before you do you’ll need to get him used to the crib again. I would recommend spending time with him in his room at least once a day, playing peek a boo or some other game with him in his crib. Take a few weeks to help him see the crib in a new light. Then you can start putting him down drowsy but awake again once a day (at least) and THEN you can start the process over again. (That’s my suggestion anyway, taking it slow, one issue at a time.) Hope this can help!

  74. Hi heather! I hope I haven’t sent you this message twice if I have I am so sorry! Thank u for getting back so quickly u r so great! My son is in his normal weight bracket and the dr actually suggested the Ferber method when he was 4 months old but I didn’t have the heart to try it..I read your article on sleep apnea and it’s so scary!! My son is restless and does seem hot mainly when we cosleep but I hope it’s nothing out of the ordinary..he is such a busy body n hates to sit still that I contributed his night wakings to that and the fact that I tryed for so long to soothe him with nursing everytime he would become restless so that I would avoid him fully waking…he actually suprised me and slept for a 4 he stretch in his crib last night but that was it! If you think I should b alarmed by his frequent wakings then I will make a special dr visit but if the above makes u think he is a good candidate for the shuffle then I will try it tomorrow night after my noisemaker has come in the mail..thank you again u have no idea how much support u offer!!

    1. Cortney, if you’ve read through the sleep apnea article and didn’t see those symptoms, than you’re probably fine. (If you’re not 100%, just bring it up at the next well child visit.)

      That’s a great start Cortney! Make sure he got in some good naps the day before you start the sleep coaching. That will help as well with the night wakenings. It’s common for babies who aren’t getting enough sleep during the day to actually wake more at night. (I know that seems backwards, but it’s actually true!) A 12 month old is usually getting around 2.5-3 hours of total sleep during the day, usually divided between 2-3 naps. Good luck tonight! Brace yourself for the worst the first night, but stick to your guns and remember that it’s always bumpy at first when you’re trying to learn a new skill! 🙂

  75. Hi..I have read thro ur site and all the comments hoping someone had the same situation and I haven’t seen it…I hope I haven’t waited to long my son is a week shy of 12 months he was super colicky for the first 3.5 months n would only sleep on me and in my arms which resulted in co-sleeping tht in turn has resulted in night nursing I’m talkin latched onto the breast most of the night and fussing if he isn’t latched..I had been so scared of the CIO that about 2 weeks ago I tried crib training I have been nursing/walkin/rocking him to sleep and then putting him down in his crib once he’s out…he literally wakes up every hr sometimes twice an hr…maybe 4 times he has slept a 3 hr stretch…I pick him up and rock/walk him until he’s out again…I feel like I am makin no progress and I’m so exhausted..i already ordered the noise maker u recommend and I am about to try ur method. My question is when my son starts to cry it takes no time and he is histerical and sounds like he is hyperventilating…you advise to pick them up and calm them and put them back how long do you continue the cycle even tho they get hysterical as soon as u put them back in crib or is there no time limit

    1. Cortney, don’t feel guilty. When our babies are sick, we do what we have to do to comfort them. You did EXACTLY What you should have done to help him get through that. Before you begin sleep coaching him, make sure you check with your doctor to confirm that he doesn’t need any extra calories at night (I’m not sure how big your little guy is) and that he/she approves of your desire to start the sleep coaching process. You’ll want to go into it knowing there aren’t any big medical reasons why he can’t sleep through the night. (That said, make sure read through my article on baby sleep apnea. It’s a lot more common than people think.)

      The first thing I would encourage you to work on is putting him down drowsy but awake. He will cry a little, because he’s going to be, at first, a little confused as to why you’re not doing what you’ve always done. Then he may get really angry because he doesn’t like this “new method” of learning to sleep on his own. That’s okay, because coaching him is giving him reassurance and encouragement right away by your voice and presence, but not doing the work for him. The difference between this method and CIO is that in CIO you leave the room and he cries alone for a long time. That may be okay for some babies who find your presence stimulating and only cry for 15-20 minutes at first.

      You can certainly pick him up to calm him so he doesn’t get to the hyperventilating state – because once he gets THERE it’s going to take forever for him to calm down. So pick him up to calm him down, but put him back down before he falls asleep on you. You want him to learn that he can fall asleep by himself. He’s going to cry when you put him down, because (again) you’re not following the “formula” he’s relied on. Try to resist picking him up for another 20 minutes (Usually babies will fall back asleep within 20 minutes of a pick up). Unless, of course, he starts escalating to hyperventilating again, in which case you can pick him up to calm. Just be aware that if he immediately calms down after you picked him up, you’ve been “had” and he’s taught YOU to pick him up whenever he cries. If that happens, you’ll have to try really hard to avoid picking him up (perhaps waiting longer next time).

      The first 3-5 days are going to be particularly brutal. You’ll wonder what the heck you’re doing. Try, though, to be very consistent during this time. Soothing him with your voice, the occasional pat, etc. Here’s a download cheat-sheet of the Shuffle rules, so you can reference what you can and can’t do when using the Shuffle. Hopefully it will help. Mentally, brace yourself for some rough nights, but arm yourself with the knowledge that 3-5 nights of difficulty is a relatively small cost compared to years and years of good sleep for the entire family. Good luck!

    1. Yes, you can certainly use this method, Anna. However, with naps there are some slight changes. Honestly, napping is often the hardest part of sleep coaching. So instead of writing a post on how to do it, I created a nearly 2-hour webinar to walk you through (with graphics!) how to help your baby nap better. It’s called Napping Know-How: Learn to Gentle Coach Your Baby Towards Better Daytime Sleep. I offer it nearly every weekend. Click here to see the next available class.

  76. Hi Heather!
    Awesome blog! I’ve read most of the articles! Lots of help!
    Here’s my situation…

    My little boy is almost 9mo. He has been a great sleeper from day 1. From ages 3 – 7mo he was on a up for 2 down for 2 routine.

    I made the switch to shorten the evening nap and gradually brought his bedtime down to 7:30P.
    Now, he is having two naps only (because if he naps any time after 4P, I won’t get him down until past 8P)
    His naps are still wonderful… one is two hours, the other is an hour depending on what the day has in store…
    But lately, past 3 weeks, he has been waking up at midnight as well as 4am for bottles… I keep telling myself its a growth spurt or teething… but he hasn’t been this needy over-night since he was 2 months old!

    Also, he wakes up more and more for soothing…. He cries because he’s found himself in an uncomfortable position and just wants to be turned back, have his soother, and covered… takes all of 45 seconds, but it’s a wake-up nonetheless.
    I’m guessing that he got needy when he pierced teeth, I responded with attention, he decided he likes that, now I’m here.
    I’m all for trying the above mentioned method, but here are my questions:
    My baby is pretty active, he’ll be standing and jumping in his crib… Do I wait for him to wear himself out?
    What do I do for nights out? I know you mentioned not to do this if we have plans that same week… But then what?

    1. Maxine, is he drinking down a full bottle when he’s waking up? If so, start cutting back on the amount of formula you’re putting in there by 2 oz every 2 days. This should help him get used to less and less milk at night.

      Sit by the crib, and calmly pat the crib encouraging him to sit down and lay down for nap. If he’s jumping around…he’s probably not ready for sleep. Try to take him for walks during the day, or try a longer bedtime routine to help him switch from “jumping playtime” to “quiet sleeptime”. If you have plans coming up this week, do the best you can to help him get rest during the day. You may find my napping webinar helpful for this – I know his naps are going great, but I talk a lot about sleeping strategies in general, and you may find several things you can use at night – like the sleepytime routine, using timed checks instead of the shuffle, etc. Here are details on the webinar, if you think it may help.

    2. Hi again Heather!
      Thanks for the advice, he’s down to 4oz per feeding and doing good so far!
      About the jumping, I don’t think I explained myself correctly…
      When he rouses from his sleep 4 to 6 times per night, I quickly tiptoe into his room and give him his soother, place him back into the middle of his crib (because he’s managed to get all the way to the top in a rocking little ball) and cover him then tiptoe back out before he even knows I was in there… I’m worried that letting him wake up fully will then lead to him sitting and innevitable jumping but I’m starting to think that I’m hindering any chance of him self-soothing… Makes sense?

    3. Gotcha! I guess I would wait a little while longer before going in there to replace the paci. At 9 months, you may want to leave a pile of soothers in the corner or something for him to find on his own and practice putting in. Also, if you don’t have bumpers on the crib, he could be hitting his head on the rails, which is waking him up as well. I actually think there’s a time and place for crib bumpers – and that you can use them safely at different stages. Here’s the post I wrote on crib bumpers.

  77. Love all the tips and advice! We got our little one to be able to be placed in the crib awake and fall asleep on his own but lately he’s been waking up every 2-4 hours at night. If I don’t nurse him sometimes he will cry for an hour and a half! I can’t keep doing this and being this sleep deprived but I hate having to nurse him back to sleep! He used to sleep 7-8 hr stretches and I don’t know what happened. Please help with the middle of the night wake ups!

  78. ok so I’m really tired and don’t know what to do. I have a 4 month old son and he just recently outgrew his colic (thank god!!!) but because he had colic and poor thing was in pain a lot he used to certain things. like his naps, I’m mostly holding him, and it’s not like I haven’t tried putting him down its just that he’ll usually sleep 5-30 minutes and wake up. Also, because of the horrible gas pains he had when colicky per doctors advice he slept on his tummy next to me. so now he only sleeps on tummy, which makes putting him down tough. at night he’s used to nursing himself to sleep or being rocked to sleep. I try to start the nighttime process around 8-8:30 but its usually 10 or so (good day) when he falls asleep. he also wakes up 3-5 times to feed at night. I stopped changing him in middle of night. the worst thing is he wakes up early, around the time my husband gets ready to go to work. I don’t know if its the noises or what that wake him but its too much for me, I need to sleep! and ever since I’ve been trying to consistently put him down for naps after he falls asleep he’s been extra irritable and cranky cause he doesn’t sleep as much, which then makes the nighttime sooo difficult, he was screaming like crazy yesterday when my husband was trying to rock him…i’m so lost, i need to train him to nap, sleep at night longer, not feed at night except maybe once, to sleep without nursing, and transition him to his crib since he’s almost outgrown the co-sleeper and honestly, I haven’t been able to be “comfortable” with hubby since baby is right there and happens to be the lightest sleeper ever. crying interruption have been know to happen :/ miss my hubby. I would appreciate any advice cause I’m lost.

    1. Zee,

      Oh friend, that’s a giant paragraph of exhaustion! It’s amazing you can even rise out of bed! (A mother’s duty….) Firstly, it’s very common for 4-5 month olds to seem fussy. They have a LOT of brain growth and changes going on right now, so it’s common they get a little grumpy. (Which may or may not be encouraging to you, since he had colic!)

      It sounds like you have quite a few things you’d like to see change. I’m going to be working one-on-one with parents like you this summer. Sometimes it’s just easier to feel like you’ve got someone else looking over things and helping you figure things out. 🙂 Keep that in mind for the next few months.

      In the MEANTIME, however, I have a few suggestions/recommendations:

      1. Get a noisemaker for the nursery (or wherever he sleeps) to help drown out the other noises – like your husband getting ready to work. Also make sure the room is as dark as possible. (Hang blankets on the windows if you have to.)

      2. Keep a nursing log for 48 hours: tracking when he is nursing, and how long he nursed (or how much formula). Then share that information with your pediatrician, and ask him to give you advice on how often he should be eating at night. Does he still need the extra calories 1 or 2 times at night. If so, decide when you want those times to be, and then dreamfeed him at those times. (You wake him, feed, with no lights, sounds, anything, so he sleeps right through.) If he awakens at any times that you’ve decided aren’t going to become the “regular feeding time”, start easing him back from those feedings by 2 minutes (if you’re nursing) or 2 oz (if it’s a formula) every night until you drop it completely.

      3. Check out this post on reasons why babies hate the crib, with some suggestions on how to make that transition over.

      4. Start nursing him as part of the nighttime routine, and then reading a book, or having a bath, or having Dad put him down to sleep. This is to start break the association he has between nursing and sleep. As for the rocking, slow things down so you’re not rocking him as long. Then start practicing putting him down in his crib sleepy, but not asleep – like he’s a 7 on a 10 scale.

      5 You may also find my Napping Know-How Webinar helpful – it’s nearly 2 hours, so it’s FULL of great content and suggestions. Just know, however, that I recommend working on the nighttime sleep first. You will still learn a lot, but the first (and most important) goal is to help his nighttime sleep improve.

      I hope this can help Zee! Again, I’ll be taking on one-on-one clients in May/June, so if you try these things and you’re still having a hard time, know that I’m more than happy to do a consultation and follow-up calls to implement a sleeping solution! 🙂

  79. I’ve just recently found your blog looking for sleep training help and I love it. But please please help me. I’m on week 3 of sleep training and faithfully followed all of Kim West’s steps to the letter, it worked beautifully. But now that I’m in the hall outside of my (8 month old) baby’s room he will. not. sleep. It happened like a switch as soon as I transitioned outside. I’m actually posting this from outside his room with verbal reassurance, but I’ve been at it for over 2 hours now and if I get him up, he’s too exhausted to function and just refuses to sleep when I try again. He hasn’t napped for more than 15 minutes for the past three days. I’ve done basically all of your 62 sleep tips. Please help! What do I do?!

  80. Hi Heather
    My situation is very similar to Noa’s, I have a baby with an iron will and strong lungs. She goes Str Into hysterical cries and didn’t let up for 2 hours tho I was next to the crib, stroking her etc. she just screamed without paying any attention to my presence. leaving the room also triggered her crying. I picked her up after 2 hours and calmed her down, put her back down and she would b happy for a while, then the screaming started again. This is a night waking– she has been fed but wakes up minutes after I put her down post dream feed. One night we went over thus cycle for 4 hours…. How often should i pick her up if she is hysterical all the time? She doesn’t do whimpers– does it mean that I PUPD?

    Another question: should I fix the night waking before the naps ? Or must i be consistent straightway? She needs to be carried and wakes when put down. Same hysterics– I’m worried about her getting neither night or day sleep.

    Thank you in advance, would really appreciate your advice!

    1. The first thing I would suggest just checking in with the doctor and making sure there’s nothing else going on, like reflux or something that could be contributing to her crying. Always better to start there, then you know what you’re working with. Yes, I do recommend working on the nighttime waking before the naps. Many parents do them at the same time, but if she’s crying that hard it may be best to split them up and do nighttime first, and then a few weeks later once the nighttime is better look towards working on the naps. Ask your doctor for signs of silent reflux, and see if you can rule out any physical pain or something first. Hang in there!

  81. Hi Heather!
    Thanks for the advice. I’ve been pretty adamant against sleep training until recently. I do not agree with CIO and thought that was my only option. This seems reasonable. I love the idea of having your presence there for LO.
    Here’s one question. My son is 7.5 months old. He has always been rocked to sleep. I have tried putting him down half asleep but he notices and gets up onto his hands and knees and reaches for me. I have tried patting him, holding his soother in his mouth for him, shushing him. If he knows I’m there he will cry and reach for me. If he knows I’ve left he will cry. I will not make him cry like that so I’m at a loss. I want him to be okay with me sitting beside him until he falls asleep, because it seems like such a good solution. But I’m not so sure he’s up for that.
    My second question is for night wakings. He is also a frequent night waker. He wakes up once very 2-3 hours to nurse. I know he doesn’t ‘need’ it. He mostly just wants the cuddle. What would you do during the night when he wakes? I’m certain that even if I am able to get him to fall asleep on his own at bed time, that will not keep him from his night feedings.
    Thanks for your help 🙂

    1. Lacy, I’m totally with you on the CIO – that’s one thing that drew me to Kim West in the first place. It seems like a happy medium. Regarding the rocking, I would start trying to wean away the rocking by sitting with him in the chair and rocking slowly until he’s sleepy, and then stopping and sitting there without rocking while he falls to sleep. Then after a few days, just sit in the chair and don’t rock at all. Then after that work on getting him drowsy, then putting him down and placing your face close to him, and your hand close to him until he falls asleep. The goal in all this is try to figure out little steps you can take to slowly wean him off the rocking and moving towards independence.

      At some point, he’s going to cry, because you are not doing something he wants you to do. That’s okay, because he’s not hurt, he’s not feeling unloved or rejected. He just doesn’t like what you’re doing. I used to think of it this way: My girls may ask for candy right before bed, or right before dinner. And I’ll say no, and (when they were toddlers) they would cry and fuss. They were reacting to my decision, but that’s cool with me because I know something they don’t know (candy before bed is bad for teeth, and bad for healthy suppers!), and so I will allow them to be upset, knowing that I am really, as their parent, protecting them from something that would be WORSE for them later on.

      That doesn’t mean we have to put our children in rooms and refuse to comfort them for hours, it just means that we accept that there will be some protest crying, but that doesn’t mean we’re bad parents or they are unloved children. It means they don’t agree with us, and we know what’s best. 🙂

      If it’s clear to you that he’s not hungry when he wakes every 2-3 hours, but is just wanting to cuddle. I would firstly concentrate on giving him that cuddle, but without the nursing. Once it seems you’ve broken that sleeping crutch (“I wake every 2-3 hours so mom can nurse me back to sleep because I cannot figure out how to fall asleep without nursing”), then you can work on not picking him up to cuddle, but standing in the shuffle position. (Does that make sense?)

      My recommendation is to work on the rocking and the middle-of-the-night cuddling (instead of nursing) first. Once you see progress with those things, you can start moving towards the first night of the shuffle.

  82. HELP!!!!
    So last night we tried this method for the first time. My 6- month-old boy has been waking up screaming every two hours for the past month until I nurse him. Last night we gave this a go and terror ensued. Whenever my husband or I picked him up he would continue hysterical crying…for an HOUR. Nothing soothes him. He won’t take a pacifier. He just pushes me away and screams. After an hour he finally calmed down enough to be out in the crib but then it all started over again. When he finally slept, he slept for a whopping forty five minutes. We started over again. It took another hour to get him to sleep. Then he slept for an hour and we started over. The last two times he woke up I finally just nursed him because I couldn’t take it anymore. Is this normal?? I tried to feed him a ton before bed but clearly it did nothing. This all just felt like pure cry it out except we were holding him and suffering as well. When he nurses at night it is for about ten minutes. Please help!!!! My husband and I are literally starting to lose it!

    1. Firstly, don’t feel guilty about ANYTHING. This process is going to take some time to work out. It’s very common for the first 3-4 days to be PURE HELL. That said, let me see what I can do to help you cut back on the hellishness a bit.

      A few questions…. 1.) Is he sleeping well during the day? and 2) when he wakes up at night, is he having a full feeding? or does it seem he just wants the comfort? 3) You mentioned the nursing for 10 minutes, is that the last feeding of the night? Or when he wakes up?

      Thanks Camee, answering those will help me get a better picture of what things we can try next. 🙂

    2. 1. No, he is not sleeping well during the day. He has never been a good napper. Until a few days ago he would only ever nap in my arms or in the car. Starting a few days ago I nursed him to sleep and then put him in his crib and he stayed asleep for 2 hours, which was a miracle. But I REALLY don’t want to nurse him to sleep! Today he did not take a nap until 3pm. Again, I finally had to nurse him into it.
      2. When he wakes up at night it’s hard to tell if he is getting a full feeding. He is a pretty fast nurser during the day as well so I’m not sure. I do try to pull him off when I feel like he is just sucking and not eating.
      3. The nursing for ten minutes is just during the night. For his last feeding I crammed him with as much rice cereal and fruit purees as possible and then fed him a 5 oz. bottle of pumped milk because I am afraid I am not giving him enough which is why he is waking up hungry. Clearly, this did nothing.
      I am just so frustrated and scared that I have somehow produced the un-sootheable baby.

    3. Camee, the good news is that he’s still very young. You haven’t produced an unsootheable baby, sounds like he’s a very smart baby who has some pretty ingrained sleeping crutches. These can be re-written and adjusted, so you’re certainly not doomed. 🙂 Firstly, I would move your nursing up a little bit in your bedtime routine. So let’s set aside the shuffle for a few days and work on soothing him and helping him get good and sleepy without the breast. So, if you start you’re bedtime at 7:30 (totally guessing), start feeding him at 7:00 instead, and then rocking him to get him drowsy and to soothe him. When he wakes up at night, go to him quickly and pick him up and soothe him (so he doesn’t go into hysterics) by rocking or bouncing him gently around the room, shushing in his ear, etc. to calm him without nursing. The difference here from the shuffle, is that you’re going to pick him up and soothe him, and do other things. After a few days, when you notice that he’s being soothed faster than he was before, and you’re not nursing him to sleep, THEN you can try the sleep shuffle. But first we should try to work on that sleep crutch he has – of needing a breast to go to sleep.

      Also, studies have shown that feeding your baby solids right before bed doesn’t help with the sleeping through the night. It’s the sleep crutch he’s struggling with, not necessarily hunger (which seem supported by the fact he’s not really nursing much when you put him on.) He’s going through his sleep cycle, and getting stuck at a partial awakening, which becomes a FULL awakening because he needs the breast to help him fall back asleep. I’m going to be talking about this more in-depth in the napping webinar coming up next week. We’ll talk about how to break that cycle, and a bunch of other strategies for babies who really struggle with sleep. It’s focused more on daytime sleep, but I will mention nighttime sleep because it’s all related. Here’s more information on the webinar. It’s the best thing for struggling parents, in that I have a whole hour to talk about things and give suggestions, and not just a blog post or a comment! 🙂

  83. Hi Heather,
    I am having a hard time figuring out if my daughter’s mommy attachment and lack of sleep is due to her teeth. She is 6 months old and was sleeping great from 8 weeks-4 months. Then, the sleep regression hit and never ended until we did a little sleep training (based on your advice.) it only took about 1 night of her crying in the middle of the night and she put herself back to sleep. She was always very easy to put down at night time, it was more her night wakings.

    During the holidays, we were traveling and she was in our room and she also popped her two bottom teeth. Since then, she has still been waking up in the middle of the night screaming and now not going down as easy. She usually goes to sleep fine for me, but not for my husband. Also, during the day, she usually goes down for naps easily for me, but no one else. She has given me a hard time on a few occasions, but not normally.

    So, last week was pretty rough. Hard going down and hard time at night. She gets hysterical and can’t calm down. Sometimes she gets more upset when we are in the room, until we eventually pick her up. The other night, She didn’t fall asleep even after crying for an hour and a half for my husband, He tried going in every 10 minutes and when hysterical, every 5, but she continues to scream. I went in after an hour and a half and she calmed, then fell asleep. So, there are so many different things going on and I don’t know if it’s just that she only wants me to put her to sleep, if it’s her teeth (because she doesn’t always calm for me at night) or what it is. Some nights I’ve had to nurse her to soothe her because she can’t calm. She hasn’t been having night feedings since 8-9 weeks old.

    This week, she has been falling asleep during her last feeding and I’ve been putting her down sleepy, but awake and she has fallen right asleep. One night, she slept 9 hrs straight, woke up and fed then back to sleep for 3 hrs. But, the past 2 nights she has woken up after only 2 hrs of sleeping and has been screaming and taking 45-55 mins to go back to sleep. Then, sleep a few hours and wake back up. Also, my husband has put her down for a few naps and she hasn’t fought him.

    So, it seems that we have a few different problems going on here. I thought at first it was an attachment to me, but then after reading your teething page I don’t know if that is part of the issue as well. I don’t want to make her even more mad. Any advice is appreciated.

  84. Hello my LO is 14 weeks old we also have a 2 year old, they will eventually share a room when our 14 week old sleeps through the night. Our LO has been sleeping in a pack n play in our room since birth. Lately the longest stretch she does is from 10pm to 3am then waking up every half hour to hour till morning. I want to try your method but wonder what to do about the sleeping arrangements ? Should I move her pack n play to the living room? And attempt the sleep teaming from there ? I’m at a loss we only have 2 bedrooms upstairs ours and their shared room. Help ! And soother or no soother ?

    1. Sophie, if you’re up for a little experiment…what if you put her in the 2nd bedroom (or another room) to sleep near you, but not in the same room for a few days? I’m just wondering if your sleep cycles are feeding off each other. Babies go through a partial awakening part of the cycle, and it’s possible she’s stirring and moving around and you’re thinking she’s awake, when really she’s just transitioning. I’m curious if she would be able to get past the 3am feeding if you weren’t so cued into her presence. (Does that make sense?)

      Another thing you could try is to dreamfeed her. If you know she’s going to wake up at 3am, try to feed her at 2:45. Don’t change her diaper, don’t talk to her, don’t turn on lights, etc. so she dreams right through the feeding. Sometimes that can help them get past a waking habit. Of course, to do that you’ll need her in a separate room so your little alarm doesn’t wake her…

      And that’s a thumbs-up on the soother. Anyway she can soothe herself will be a good thing in helping her learn how to fall asleep on her own. Hope this can help!

  85. I can’t wait to try this advice. My LO
    Is 8 months old and I’ve co slept her since birth and nurse her to sleep/walk her and bounce her sometimes. I’m the first to admit lately that I’ve created a sleep monster because neither of us is getting any. She wakes every two hours still to nurse for less five mins and falls back asleep.during the day she refuses to nap and once I get her to sleep and lay her down she seems to wake right away or will only sleep
    For ten/20 mins. I’m at a loss now
    I’m so tired and I know she must be too. How can I tradition her to crib and get her to sleep longer through the night when she’s used to waking so much. ? Please help!

    1. Firstly, Heather I would write down all the issues you feel are contributing to her sleeping problems. Sounds like she’s snacking a lot on the breast, so that’s one. Rocking her to sleep perhaps would be another? She’s not used to sleeping in the crib, right? Write down any and all of the issues that you’d like to see changed, and then start concentrating on them, one at a time. So perhaps the first goal is to get her to stop snacking throughout the day/night. Then work on falling asleep without Mom, then work on the crib sleeping, which would translate into better nighttime sleep.

      So starting with the snacking, I would make sure try to lengthen out her feeding sessions by 10-15 minutes. Firstly by making sure she stops falling asleep during meals, but is completely finished eating. Then try other ways to soothe her to sleep – try bouncing her around, or using a binky, or singing, or rocking her to sleep – however you can get her to sleep is okay, because at this early stage the first thing is the not-nursing-to-sleep thing. That’s the first sleeping crutch to break. Once she’s eating at specific times, and not snacking, work on putting her down drowsy-but-awake, soothing her through touch and your voice next to her. Then, you can start transitioning her into the crib. But firstly, start working on the full-tummy before bed, and the soothing in other ways other than nursing. IT’s going to be a rough few days, but hang in there. After you start to see progress in this area, we can work on the others. You WILL see progress, but it’s going to take a few days of gentle persistence. 🙂

      Oh, if you still want to continue co-sleeping, that’s just fine – but I would recommend we start to get her napping in the crib. Unless you have hours to spend next to her in the big bed, it’s safest for her to sleep in the crib during naps.

    2. Thanks for the advice Heather!
      She has a little muslin blanket that we have been using for awhile now. She loves to rub it on her face (but often knocks out her soother :$). I stopped holding her for naps but lie beside her in bed. She has been really good at going to sleep on her own with no intervention from me (except me lying there with my eyes closed) so I don’t think we will have to raise her mattress. I have been putting her in the crib for 5-10 minutes before her naps each day and let her play while I putter around. She seems to have taken well to that too. We were just about to start the sleep shuffle when lo and behold she started cutting another tooth AND got a cold! So that is our next step. My husband has been switching off nights with me and we are actively night weaning her. So far so good! She made it 6:30-5am without a feed last night. So next up is the shuffle as soon as the tooth pops. Hopefully we can catch it quick and get it done before the next tooth starts to rear its ugly head!
      I have one follow up question: what time do you think I should be putting her down at night? She doesn’t have a third nap so is usually up at 2:15-2:45pm from the afternoon nap. I am thinking 5:30pm but would like to hear what you think.
      Thanks again!

    3. Christina, sounds like you are both have the knack of this! I think you’re also being very smart about the tooth/cold. Comfort that little bundle through this, and then you can start working on everything else. 🙂 As for putting her down, I would try to see if she would take a very short 45 min nap around 5:00 (4:30 if she’s waking at 2:15). But don’t let her sleep later than an hour. Then try to put her down for the night at 7:30 or 8:00. My concern is if you try to put her down at 5:30 pm, she’s going to be up by 5:30am (if not sooner) ready to start the day. Give that a whirl for a few days and see if it helps/hinders. Then do any adjustments that you and your hubby think are best.

    4. Thanks! That is actually what we have kinda been doing. Down around 5…and she only sleeps 45 minutes. Then up for nursing, solids, quiet playing then my husband puts her down for the night. Just wanted to make sure it sounded like we were doing things that would be productive 🙂
      Will let you know how the sleep shuffle goes!

  86. I have a six month old who has always been nursed to sleep or settled with a dummy. This isn’t working anymore because at night he can wake every 2 to 4 hours wanting his dummy or to be nursed.
    I am TIRED!
    I tried your strategy above for an hour with no success. I eventually rocked my son to sleep. How long do you suggest sitting there for? Should I stop and give him a break. For example if he is not asleep in 15min is it wise to stop and just try again later?
    Here is a bit of background
    1. He is on a 4 hour feed, play, feed to sleep routine with 3 solids meals in between milk feeds.
    2. He has had a night routine of bath, massage, feed, story, then dummy or nurse to sleep.
    3. I tried the elevated bed with no avail.
    4. I tried him on his tummy and side and he rolled over to his back so I think he didn’t like it.
    5. When I wrap him he sweats a lot, even if he is just in a nappy.
    6. During the sleep training, when I picked him up and calmed him down as soon as his body touched the mattress he screamed. There was no fussy crying? Could this be because he was over tired already?

    Thanks

    1. Lucy, Thanks so much for posting this, I’m confident we can work out something better. Firstly, how are his naps during the day? You are right in that if he’s over-tired at night that can be contributing to it. (And yes, I think you did the right thing picking him up.) Is he napping twice or three times a day? and for how long? What time is his last nap and feeding?

      Hang in there, I’m happy to help you come up with some things to try. 🙂

  87. I am having difficulty, this is my pattern: my daughter is 21 weeks old I also have a 4 year old son what I do it after my sons tea I bath them both at 7 feed my daughter (Breastfeeding) she will always fall asleep I then pick her up and attempt to burp her put her in her grobag and lay her in her crib sometimes she’s awake but mostly asleep I turn off light and shut door and then bed my son an hour after she goes down she’s up I have tried leaving her but she gets so upset then she wiggles and twist so she sideways in her crib and gets stuck so I have to go and pick her up to turn her round this is the same all night until 12 when I go to bed she then goes to sleep nursing and stays asleep till 6-7 feed her then goes back down till 9 (when my son gets up) I would love to have just a few hours to myself do you have any advice thank you x

    1. Rachel, you are in the trenches of motherhood. The good news, is that it can get better. The first thing I would start to work on is keeping her awake during feedings. You need to know for sure that she’s completely finished eating, and isn’t eating halfway, then falling asleep only to wake up again hungry an hour later because she wasn’t finished. Do whatever you can to keep her awake throughout the entire feeding. Strip her down to her diaper and cover her with a blanket, or use a warm washcloth on her hands, or gently blow on her face, whatever you have to do to keep her awake until she indicates that she’s finished. Then start putting her down drowsy, but awake. If she’s always sleeping when you put her down, she will start relying on you everytime she wakes up to get her back to sleep. That’s a habit that really costs you in the months/years to come.

      So start with the no-sleeping-while breastfeeding. Then work on the putting her down “drowsy but awake”. And then start working through the sleep shuffle steps above. You can do this Rachel! You don’t have to feel like an exhausted Zombie all the time. You can help your children get the rest they need, and help YOU get the rest you need at the same time!

    2. Ok I tried it (in uk) fed her till she refused then put her down awake she went to sleep for 1hr then woke so I tried above method did not work she screamed so hard she made herself choke I calmed her down and laid her back down but after a while she just continued to scream took me an hour to calm her down after another attempt with same outcome I gave up out of exhaustion and laid her in her rocker in the lounge and she fell asleep within minutes 🙁 on the plus my toddler can sleep through all this lol x

    3. Okay. Let’s go back and do some troubleshooting. When you put her down, was she semi-conscious and sleepy? or wide awake? When you put her down, did you sit or stand next to the crib? You did the right thing, picking her up and calming her. And it’s okay that you gave up and laid her in the rocker. 🙂 Little steps. Does she normally sleep in the rocker? And if so, is the rocker on while she’s sleeping? If that’s her favorite place to sleep, we may want to start with transitioning her to the crib first, before we try to do the Sandman steps above.

  88. I have a 4-month old and I don’t have any problems getting him to sleep at night. He goes to bed between 6:30 and 7, then usually wakes up for a quick feeding at 1:30 (although he has made it to 4am before without eating), then goes right back to sleep. My problem is he usually wakes up between 5 and 6:30 every morning and is ready to get up for the day! There has been a handful of times where he has slept until 7, but I would like him to sleep until 7 every day! How do I get him to sleep longer? I usually just ignore his crying and sometimes he will doze back off, but this morning he made noises for an hour before I finally went to him at 6. It throws off his entire nap schedule when he wakes up so early, and I am very tired as well.

    1. Hannah, I would recommend trying something called a dreamfeed. Basically what you do is sneak in there a few minutes before he usually wakes up and feed him. Don’t talk, don’t change his diaper, don’t turn on any lights, you want him to dream right through the feeding. Then put him down immediately and let him keep sleeping. Do this for a few days, and then stop and see if it helped him push past that block. It’s a risk, since if you’re not careful he may be “up”, but it’s worth the try. 🙂

  89. Great Blog Heather! Some super useful tips…and I feel like I have read a lot of them 🙂
    I’d like to hear your advice on tackling our sleep issues with my 6.5 month old. She slept like a champ from Day 1 until around 4 months when she learned to roll over (and get stuck) and started teething (yes teething!) now she won’t sleep unless either in my arms or co-sleeping. Morning nap requires no effort except lying next to her in our bed. She drifts off for 45-1…sometimes longer if I do heavy hands during transition. Afternoon nap is in my arms on the couch for 2-2.5 hours. Though she probably needs a third nap, I have a 2 year old who is home and makes it difficult for the little one to take a catnap. Night time has become awful. Routine is in place (diaper, massage, nurse,book) but she must be held until dead asleep and then wakes sometimes every 45-1.5. Still nurses at 2am (though am thinking its habitual these days) Gradual withdrawal worked for our older girl at 10months (when she started to walk and had 10 teeth). I am hoping it will work for this one. We are anxiously awaiting for her 6th tooth (yes 6 already!!!) to break before starting anything. Do you think this is a wise move? Should I tackle it all cold turkey? The co-napping, co-sleeping after night feed, the night feed…any advice would be awesome! I feel like I don’t know where to start with this girl. And having a toddler around makes it all a little more difficult :$

    1. Toddlers do add a whole new level of “busyness” to parenting! She has some pretty engrained sleep crutches that you will need to start chipping away at. I would begin to do the sleep shuffle with her at night. Make sure she has a full tummy when you put her down at night, so when she wakes you can be confident it’s out of habit and not out of hunger. Other things I would start doing…

      1. Give her a lovey – something soft she can hold and cuddle with. Then use it whenever you are holding her and cuddling, so she can associate those warm cozy feelings with a little stuffed animal or blanket. Then put that in the crib with her during naps. It will provide the “you smell” and comfort that she’s looking for.

      2. Put her in the crib for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon and then either play with her inside the crib, or sit beside her while she plays inside the crib. I would put my toddler inside the crib too with some toys and books and let them play together for a little bit while I sat beside them in the rocking chair. The purpose here is to get her used to being inside the crib, and thinking that the crib is a happy place to hang out. This will help dissociate any negative feelings she may have about the crib.

      3. Try angling the crib up a little bit, so it’s not a flat surface. If she’s used to sleeping on your chest, she’s used to sleeping on an incline. Put a semi-flat pillow under the mattress against the springs to create a slight incline. Then read through these other crib tips to see if there are other ways you can make the crib easier for her to sleep on.

      4. Make sure the nursery room is as dark as you can get it (I hung two dark sheets and blinds on our window), and have a 24/7 noisemaker to drown out toddler sounds during naps.

      It’s not going to be easy to help her make this transition, but it can be done. She’s going to cry, but not because she’s unsafe or you’re being a bad parent, she’s going to cry because she prefers sleeping on you and you’re changing the game. Start fiddling with the sleep shuffle above, testing whether she does better when you’re with her and occasionally speaking and touching her hand, or if she does better if you sit there and close your eyes and am just THERE, or if she does better if you leave the room entirely. Go in when she’s hysterical and it’s obvious she’s getting hyped up and calm her down, rock her, etc. and then put her down again. On days I was really tired and easily frustrated, I would put my older child in her room for a playing “quiet time” and put in some ear plugs. I can still hear things, but the crying isn’t as abrasive. Since your toddler is only two, put him/her on your bed with your phone or ipad, or in front of the TV, so that you know he is safely occupied while you are working on his sister’s sleeping issues.

      Concentrate on the nighttime sleep first, doing the sleep shuffle. During the day, do whatever you do to help her nap. As soon as her nighttime sleep is being managed, you can start using the same techniques for napping. Give it a sold week, Christina, and I think you’ll be encouraged. Just hang in there. 🙂

    2. Hi Christina & Heather, I’m wondering if any progress was made over the past few months using the tips provided?
      My 7 mo old has many sleep crutches, including being rocked or cuddled to sleep and co sleeping at night. We’ve broken the napping in arms over the last month, although he wakes with every cycle so sometimes I rock him or pat him to go back to sleep for longer in crib (yay for minor progress) but he does not fall asleep on his own. At night he wakes every 45 min to 2 or 3 hrs. During the night he nurses frequently. I’m happy to reduce these but don’t think I should cut them all out cold turkey! HElP! Also, we have a consistent bedtime routine that’s been in place for well over 2 months. He is asleep between 7-7:30pm depending on nap times

  90. My 6 month old is having major sleep regression. She’s slept 8-10 hours through the night since she was 6 weeks old. But, we moved her into her room and into her crib about 3 weeks ago and ever since she’s been getting up 2-3 times at night. (she was in the rock and play before in our room). I go in each time and feed her and put her back down. I know I’ve probably started a bad habit now although she still eats every time I go in there so I’m worried she may be actually hungry? She just learned to roll over and that seems to have something to do with it too because she’ll roll from back to tummy and then cannot roll back over and gets upset. Sometimes she’ll sleep on her tummy but not always. I also think she’s starting to teeth, but it’s hard to tell. If she’s crying and I go in there, she immediately stops crying and smiles at me. Is she just playing me?? At nap time she’s been crying too and we follow a pretty consistent schedule and know that she needs to go to sleep about 1.5-2 hours after waking or she’ll get fussy, but she still cries when we put her down for about 10 minutes. She typically only naps for 45 min each time, like clock work. Any advice?? Thanks so much!!!

    1. Corrie, I think you’re being played. 😉 Especially since she was sleeping like a champ before. My guess is that she hit a growth spurt or was teething and that threw everything off, and now she’s just having a hard time getting back into that rhythm. Regarding the rolling over, try the towel trick in this article, but instead of creating a “U” shape, put one on either side of her armpits, so she’s on her side, but can’t roll over and get stuck.

      Make sure the room is dark for naptime, and there’s a noisemaker going to drown out signs of life around the house. As for her nighttime sleep, do the steps above at night, sitting in the place you were sitting during the “put to bed” shuffle” when she wakes up. Comforting her using whatever works, but resist picking her up as much as you can, and avoid singing or anything that may stimulate her to “totally awake”. The goal is to help her get past the “partial awakening” section of her sleep cycle, and back into the deeper REM sleep without your intervention. I hope this encourages you! Let me know if I need to clarifying anything or can help with something else.

  91. My 6 month old is going to be transitioning the next two weeks when I am on winter break. He hates to even remotely lay on his back (likes his side the most) but cannot roll over yet in order to put himself in that position. I will be starting to use the techniques above but does anyone have any tips if I should elevate the mattress to help or use a towel? He hates to go to sleep without his father rocking him as well. He loved his rock n play but has outgrown it!

    1. Amy, I wrote an article talking about different crib tricks you can try – have you seen it? Just in case you haven’t… Go through that and see if it gives you any ideas! Specifically, try the towel-under-the-sheet crib, but instead of making a “U” shape, make a snake and stick it under his shoulder, so he’s slanted.

  92. I have read your blogs and they are all wonderful, but I feel as though I am on an island by myself 🙂 lol I have a 10 month old who we get to sleep in his swing for naps and bedtime and then when he is sleeping we take him out and put him in his crib. He is also still getting up 2-3x a night where sometimes he eats 8 plus ounces. He is too big for the swing so it’s game on. I just don’t know how to handle the transition. How long do I leave him in his crib if he is happy? I have a feeling that he will stay in there forever playing? But then what happens if he gets upset? He is very strong willed and very smart. I know I waited too long but now I have no choice. He will not let me rock him and he doesn’t take a pacifier so the swing was our crutch. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Shayne

    1. Shayne, as for the nighttime habits, follow the steps above, I’ve yet to meet a parent who didn’t see improvements after a few weeks once they dug in and did it!

      As for the transition…have you seen my post on “why your baby hates his crib”? It talks about different ways to give your baby the feeling of being in his swing! when he isn’t. That may help.

      If he’s happy, let him hang out in there as long as he wants. It actually may help you, by helping him get more comfortable being in the crib and not the swing. Once he starts fussing and telling you to “come and get me” go in to him all confident smiles. It will reassure him that playing in his crib is a good thing. Hope this helps!

    2. First I want to thank you for the courage to try to go without the swing today….So, we did the no swing thing for naps today and for bedtime! Success for the three times. Now I’m worried about the nighttime wakings because I usually feed him back to sleep. Any tips?

    3. I’m so glad to hear the swing thing is working itself out! Well done Mom! Don’t feed him back to sleep, instead offer your gentle shushings and presence. But don’t feed him! That’s reinforcing the thing you need to change. Follow the steps above for two weeks to help him feel the comfort of your presence, instead of your breast. 🙂 You can do this Shayne! You’re doing great!

  93. Found this post while desperately searching for answers at 11:30 pm. Our five month old daughter doesn’t have any problem putting herself to sleep when she goes down at seven pm. When she’s finished with the bottle, we simply lay her down in her crib and she puts her self to sleep in minutes. But lately, she’s been waking 2-4 times at night and can’t put herself back to sleep. She works herself into hysterics. CIO hasn’t seemed to work, she only gets more angry when we try to gently speak to her or hum or stay nearby as suggested. She will go for an hour plus just screaming, struggling to get back to sleep. Help!

  94. Thanks Heather 🙂 yes, he has popped out 2 teeth since my last posting, & we went to the ped & found his ‘slight ear infection’ on the right is now ‘a raging double’…augmentin to the rescue! Hopefully once this is resolved we can make some sleep progress….he seems better regarding the teething pain now that they have both broken through the gum. As for remedies, we are using some homeopathic Calcarea Phos & Ferrum Phos…1 tab twice a day dissolved in water. I think it is helping…he is much less drooly & irritable since starting it…but we are also effectively treating his ear infections, so…could be either one. Thanks for such a great, real life blog for us new mamas! And the Milestone Marker is awesome…printed a copy & put it in a binder….I love marking down when he does something new!!!

  95. Hello other mums,

    I have a six month old who goes to sleep wonderfully…between six and seven we get the pjs on, go for a wee walk around the house chatting with the other family members, give kisses, walk through a dark hallway into a dark room, she curls up and buries her face into my chest, rubs her eyes, I lay her down and in minutes she is sound asleep; rarely a tear falls. But lately she has stated waking up around 9:30 or 11:30, and very quickly gets herself in a tizzy, just wailing, and all my regular soothing methods only fuel the fire, so I nurse her and after five minutes she is back to sleep. I have come to the conclusion that this is completely habitual, as every now and again she throws in a day where she won’t wake up, but as for the other days I don’t know what steps to take to curb it, as all my usual techniques just don’t work. What should I do?

    1. I have tried most of those tricks, but she just screams, leaving the room works, but then when I re-enter, she just looses it again (which is how I know she just doesn’t want to be put down again). She may also be teething, so I think I’ll hold off on any major interventions. She is such a bright baby, and very hard to trick into new habits. She is so different than my first baby, who slept through the night, 7pm-7am, at 6 weeks old. I guess I was spoiled.

      Thanks for such a great blog!

  96. My 18mo old goes sleeps very quickly (with a bottle) but wakes up usually once (sometimes more) and needs me to pop a pacifier in to go back to sleep. I was always hoping she’d just sleep through the night one day by herself [insert laughing from all moms here!]. She has a few times slept through the night, just to tease me, it didn’t stick! I’m learning here that I HAVE to start training her to go to sleep without any bottles or pacifiers if she’ll ever sleep through on her own – is this right?
    Upside: I may succeed and get better sleep myself, eventually.
    Downside: Even though she wakes up a few times, she goes back to sleep immediately without my help, and she goes to bed super quick, so time spent dealing with her lack of sleep is pretty low even though I still don’t get consistent sleep. Sleep training per your article seems like lots of tears and lack of sleep for several weeks. Currently she goes into the shrieking screaming version you noted at the beginning when put down in the crib when not fully asleep! She’s so old now too, she’s got more attitude about what she wants, perhaps harder to train?

    1. Tania, every child is different, so it’s hard to determine if there’s going to be a lot of tears and lack of sleep. I used this method with two of my children (didn’t know about it with my first). Elena (of course the middle stubborn child) took about a week. The youngest Bella took only 4 days to go through all the steps. As soon as I felt we’d made progress, we moved to the next step. So it’s hard to tell how long it will take.

      If she goes back to bed super quick, I’m wondering if you should wait longer before going in there. Perhaps she will mull herself back to sleep if you waited 15 minutes? As for going down at bedtime, at 18 months, she’s got some harder habits to break. You can do this Tania! Tell yourself you’re going to try it for 4-5 nights and see what happens. If you see absolutely no improvement after 5 nights, we’ll have to do some adjusting. You’re not stuck friend. We can keep trying things to catch those consistent nights. 🙂

  97. I’m in the same boat over here…my 6 month old typically goes down at 9 *crosses fingers* without a fight (we massage, bath, bottle, lullaby, bed), & lately has been finishing the bottle, twisting around in my arms to say ‘it’s time for bed’, then into the crib & sleeping after a few minutes of back rub. The last week of September, he started sleeping 9p-5a (yay!) then October hit & we had a sleep regression (every.2.hours) & growth spurt (boo!). Come November, back to sleeping 9-2 or 3ish, 4oz bottle, then back to bed til about 730…is the middle of the night bottle just a habit now? Because I know he can make it through 9-5…oh, & now we are teething, so when he wakes up at night I feel like I should do something….thoughts mamas??

  98. When do you know if you need to try this? Our little guy sleeps typically 7ish to 5:30ish with a wakeup to nurse around 12/1… Is this method to remove the nursing time? How do we know if it’s too soon to try to eliminate a nursing request?

    1. If he’s older than 12 weeks, and doesn’t have any other health issues, he is physically able to sleep from 7 until 7 without having to get up to eat. Usually babies older than 12 weeks who are still waking up are doing so out of habit. They go through a sleeping cycle, and then can’t go back to sleep without your help. This method is a way of helping your baby learn how to do that on his own. That said, you will have to decide if “usually” still applies to your baby. If he’s only nursing for a minute or two before nodding back off, he’s nursing to soothe, and not to eat. If he’s gulping for 20-30 minutes…then perhaps he’s not quite old enough to drop the feeding. Does that help clarify things Michele?

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