Lullaby and Goodnight

opinion 1
How do you teach a baby (4 months old) to start falling asleep without allowing them to sleep on you. Parents are on aboard with this and want ideas.


Counting sheep said...

Starting a good simple routine always helps. Start by turning off any bright lights and using a lamp to dim the lighting this will help calm and soothe the baby, then change his/her diaper I always use the nighttime diapers even at nap time to help keep the baby comfy and avoid messy leaks. Make sure the baby's clothes are comfy, I always put kids in a pair of footy PJ's at that age I feel like when the baby is clean and comfy they settle down better. I would highly recommend turning on a cool mist humidifier to help prevent any stuffy noses or dry skin. Then both you and baby snuggle up in his/her rocking chair and read a few stories. Then I always give the baby a big, warm hug and kiss tell them I love them and put them in their crib.

At 4 months its perfectly safe to let the baby cry themselves to sleep, I personally have tried several other methods but I feel letting them cry themselves to sleep works the best. It takes a few weeks to start working but eventually the baby will learn to soothe alone. It's very hard to listen to the baby cry so stay strong know that the crying is only temporary. It's hard but the short term difficulty makes for a long term pay off. Also make sure the baby's crib is free of toys, stuffed animals, pillows, this can be dangerous and this may encourage the baby to play instead of sleep. Good luck OP I hope this helped!

Logical Skeptic said...

Gradually work up to putting him down before he's fully asleep. This should take weeks, not days. Start by letting him fall asleep on you as usual. Then after a few days of good sleeping, put him in his crib *just* before he conks out completely. He might wake up and fuss a little with the change in position (and if the sheet is cool on his head, that's a big shock, so try having a burp cloth under his head for the first few minutes after he's down), but if you wait until he's 95% asleep he'll probably go back down quickly. Then every few days, put him down sooner and sooner, so that by the end he's only just beginning to get drowsy when you lay him in his crib.
Falling asleep on you is just like any other habit and if you want to break it, you have to do it gradually so he doesn't even realize he's adjusting. Try not to get anxious or worried about it; he'll sense it if bedtime becomes a big deal and ge worked up about it himself. But don't worry about short-term setbacks.
All of the advice Counting Sheep gave in the first paragraph is good, too!

MissMannah said...

Baby C is 4 months old and she is an awful sleeper during the day but a great sleeper at night. The key is a consistent night-time routine. Her parents give her a bath around 6, then a bottle and rocking and then lay her down. She plays in her crib for awhile and is usually asleep between 6:30 and 7--and she sleeps for 11-12 hours every night. Now for me, during the day it isn't so easy. She has to be exhausted to fall asleep in her crib or else will sleep in the swing. Like counting sheep said, I often have to let her cry it out, even though it is hard. If she really starts freaking out, I'll go back in her room to put her pacifier back in her mouth and stroke her forehead a little bit just to calm her down. And of course, sometimes she screams for so long I can't stand it anymore and I end up rocking her to sleep anyway.

My point is, the night-time routine is easier to establish first and then try to tackle naps. Oh, I forgot to mention, we also use a sound machine turned up pretty high with her because any noise will wake her up.

Phoenix said...

well put the baby in a crib. Turn off the light, shut the door, and if that child cries let them cry. The will hate it for a couple go-arounds but in the end they will be out like a light.

My friend was pissed at her husband when they moved. She got to the point where her daughter was able to go to bed right away with the lights off, door closed, quietly. When they moved her husband started keeping A's door open at night and now A refuses to sleep with her door closed and lights off. She is pertified, even though she has lived through it before.

AlexAnne said...

Please do not do what Phoenix suggested.

MissMannah said...

AlexAnne, why not? Cry it out is very effective for some children, but not for others. But it is certainly the quickest sleep training technique for the children who will adapt to it. As long as all the baby's needs have been met and she isn't crying hysterically, I see nothing wrong with it.

NanaDarling said...

If you're not comfortable (or the parents aren't) with letting the kid fuss, then I'm with Logical Skeptic. But it's really not bad for the baby to cry themselves to sleep as long as they're otherwise happy. If they're tired, especially at that age, they'll sleep within a few minutes. If they go into hysterics and stay there, just try again later.

AlexAnne said...

I think it's cruel to suddenly put a baby who is used to cuddling with you in a dark room to scream until they tire themselves out. They may be small but they are people with feelings too.

If you do cry it out the correct way you settle them properly and slowly increase the amount of time you allow them to cry themselves to sleep. Even then it's only when its a sleepy/playful cry not crying for other needs screaming/crying for hours on end.

You do not on the first night lock them in a room and forget about it for the night.

Although I guess if the parent/caregiver feels they will be violent with a baby it's safer for them to just place them in the crib and close the door.

Logical Skeptic said...

Phoenix, your friend sounds like a sociopath. Manipulating her daughter's behavior to annoy her ex is one thing (a crappy, horrible thing, but still); ignoring the collateral damage done to the child by manufacturing terror? Ugh.

I understand AlexAnne's point because I sort of analogized it (if that's a real word) by thinking about it this way:

Say I'm a foreign exchange student in a country where I can't speak a word of the language. I have a lovely host family who doesn't really understand me, but they feed me and take care of me and seem really happy to have me around. Every day they drop me off at school, and pick me up in the afternoon. I know when they come and I look forward to it.

Then one day, they don't come to get me. No phone call, no note, no advance warning, nothing. I have no idea why they don't come. Everyone else leaves. I can't ask anyone for help. I have no way to get in touch with anyone, no idea how to get home and no way to do so even if I did. Now I'm all by myself in a dark, kind of scary place, and it occurs to me that maybe there's been an earthquake, or a coup, or something, and now everyone's dead and OH MY GOD I'M ALL ALONE AND I CAN'T TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.

Wouldn't that freak you out? Even if you're an adult and you can be fairly certain that the sun'll come up tomorrow, etc., and you should just find someplace to curl up and wait it out, it's still a pretty rough time.

Babies have no way of knowing your plans, they don't have a good concept of the future, and they do NOT like to be left alone because they're still hard-wired to think that alone = DOOM (like, "a tiger ate my mom, oh crap I'd better scream my head off so that another human will hear me and take care of me"). Plus, if they're used to one way of falling asleep their whole lives (i.e., all comfy and snuggly on a nice, warm, breathing human) and then you switch it with no warning whatsoever to being put in a crib that isn't as warm and doesn't cuddle, in a dark, silent room, I'd be more worried if the kid DIDN'T lose its head with terror. We'd think it was a terrible shock, as in the scenario above; why wouldn't it be just as bad or worse for a baby?

It seems much kinder to gradually change the routine so it's not such an abrupt change. And the gradual approach really doesn't take a lot more effort.

Now of course, some kids are a more easygoing than others and don't have a problem with it. But the concept still bothers me.

MissMannah said...

Logical Skeptic, now you're not thinking logically. Your analogy sounds great in theory IF babies had the same thought processes as adults. But they don't. Babies don't have object permanence, nor do they have the capability to be afraid of the dark. They aren't crying because they are losing their heads with terror, they are crying because their routine has been shaken and, odds are, they've gotten overtired. And the only reason it seems much kinder to gradually change to routine is because it is easier on the adults. The fact of the matter is, a bad habit has been established and the best way to rid yourself of a bad habit is to kick it cold-turkey.

AlexAnne: some children simply will not tire themselves out by screaming--my charge is one of them. This is why I said cry it out does not work for every child. I also said you shouldn't do it if they are at the point they are crying hysterically.

AlexAnne said...


I answer why I thought Phoenix's technique would be inappropriate for a first time try with a baby learning to sleep. I believe I also covered how children like your charge can be handled.

Logical's analogy isn't all that ridiculous. Check out the latest research on sleep training & how it impacts kids. Why your at it take a look at development in babies. You might stand to learn something.

AlexAnne said...

Oh and cold turkey isn't always the best way to change a habit or behavior.

MissMannah said...

I really don't know what you're talking about now. What information did I give that was incorrect? Maybe the cold-turkey thing wasn't entirely accurate, but that's only with adults. With babies, it is much easier to kick a habit cold-turkey. It takes an adult 3 weeks to form a new habit with consistency. It takes a baby only 3 days.

And if you think you can "handle" C's sleeping problems, you are more than welcome to come over on Monday. She took 4 naps today: the lengths were 40 mins, 30 mins, 25 mins and 15 mins. She was miserable all day, but there was really nothing else I could do for her.

And NO MissMannah, I am not a troll..... said...

Just as people say why do women have kids if they are going to leave them with a sitter, I can't help but think the same when I hear people putting their kids to bed at 6:30 or 7:00 pm!!!! When does a working mom or dad spend time with them ????? Is a SAHM just anxious to pass the kids off into bed and put them "down" at ridiculous times? My kids are 13 and 16 now and have never been to bed before 11:30 pm at the earliest and usually much, much later. When they were babies, toddlers, pre-school, I got home from work at 6 -7 pm. We ate dinner and the kids stayed up to see their dad, a doc, then a resident, who got home anytime from 10 pm on. We have all got by on "short" sleep and done well for years. Why in the world do people have kids if they want to have their whole evenings free? Don't pretend it is for the kids' good, it is not, I suspect it is really much more for Mom and Dad trying to pretend they are still childless.

Cat said...

That story about Foreign exchange student doesn't make much sense not to mention Its funny that someone would actually comparing 'nobody picked up foreign exchange student after school' situation with 'baby sleeping training'. Hmm.
First of all how can you be alone in the dark in afternoon hours (maybe in winter time) Also i am sure if is an emergency caused by nature i am sure school would be informed.. and why would you be scared and alone in dark outside - just go back in school building and wait until someone come.. OR get maps, bus schedule, bus money and in general - learn how to 'orientate'. It is responsible thing to do. Anyway, I apologize for focusing on this too much, couldn't help it :)
Op, you should try cry-it-out method (If the baby is healthy and ready for sleep training)

Logical Skeptic said...

Cat, it was an *analogy*. A hypothetical construct. NOT a real situation. OF COURSE someone would come get you. OF COURSE you could get a map or make yourself understood to someone. It wasn't meant to be real. It was an exercise in perspective that was meant to help Phoenix understand what a baby might be thinking if its routine was suddenly altered without warning and with no way of figuring things out. I'm guessing English isn't your first language, judging by the syntax of your post, so I'll give you a pass on this if you didn't understand it, but please keep in mind that it wasn't meant to represent reality.

MissMannah, you're absolutely right that babies don't have object permanence. That's why it would be so scary if they were suddenly put in a dark room all by themselves when they were still wide awake! Not only is their routine screwed up, everything that's familiar is gone and they don't know where it is or if it's ever coming back because being left in the dark room isn't routine yet. "Overtired" is a red herring. Why would they be any more tired in the crib than on the caregiver if they were put down at the same time?

Cold turkey works for some people and not for others. Since one doesn't know what will work for any given baby, I think it's best to err on the side of caution and try the gradual approach. But MissMannah, you seem to be a great nanny along with OP, so I'm not saying that your approach is wrong, just different.

Not a troll, I'm glad that worked for your family. Your kids got to see their parents and apparently none of you need much sleep. However, the research indicates that almost all babies need 12-16 hours of sleep per 24-hour period, children need 10-12, and adults need 7-9. Therefore, people who need to be out the door at 8:30AM need their kids to wake up at 6:30 or 7, so they put them down at 6:30 or 7PM. Long-term sleep deprivation is associated with poor health across the board. Yes, there are people who need very little sleep. They are a very, very small minority. The rest of us

I think it's very nasty (even...trollish?) of you to suggest that parents put their children to bed at what is generally considered to be a healthy hour so they can "pretend they are still childless". People who pretend they are still childless are generally much less responsible than that. My parents adored me and love(d) being parents, but I was ALWAYS put to sleep for 12-14 hours as a baby and 10-12 hours as a kid, right up until I was about 15 or 16 and had more homework. Oh, and both my parents worked full time. Go ahead, tell me what terrible, selfish people they are. I dare you.

Right on Phoenix & Mannah! said...

You're right baby's aren't mini adults. Hell we shouldn't bother responding to their crys either. It's just reinforcing a bad habit we don't want a bunch of cry babies who can't stick up forthemselves in their future professions. Tough love and fend for yourself from the start.

I think we should go further you eat when I say you eat or no food till the next time it's offered.

That's what cribs and rooms are for right?

Sad nanny said...

Some of you are down-right scary with your understanding (or lack there-of) of babies and their NEEDS. They NEED to be responded to, they NEED to know you are there for them and will help when they ask.

You may think that you do no lasting damage leaving a baby (a defenceless baby who relies on you) to cry, but you do. You won't see it now, you probably won't see it in 5 years time, but in 15 or 20 or even 30 years the damage comes to the surface. Shame on you.

Loving Mom said...

As a nanny, I am so sick of having to do little rituals to help the baby fall asleep. I.e., massages, stroller walks, car trips, etc. It is plain crazy.

Children need to learn to fall asleep by themselves. Period. As long as the child is fed, dry, comfortable and tired, then he or she should be put down and left alone. A pacifier and blanket is good and sure the child will probably cry for a few minutes. What child relishes sleeping???!! But after a little while, the child will eventually get tired of crying and fall asleep.

When my kids were younger, I always let them cry it out. I was a busy mom to three and didn't have the time or energy to massage them to sleep. Well guess what? 18 yrs later...they have absolutely no recollection of it and sleep like normal adults do.