What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night – Part I

What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night - Part I

After you’ve read 1 or 8 books on baby sleep you may be rightfully confused about why your 8 month+ baby is still up all night. And while I’ll admit that there are a few reasons why this may be happening 99% of the time there is one single reason why older babies, toddlers, and even preschool kids are still waking up multiple times each night. If you’re ready to sleep through the night you need to understand why they’re waking up and what to do about it.

Teaching Baby to Fall Asleep

You’ve been teaching baby to fall asleep since the very beginning, usually through some combination of nursing and rocking. When they’re younger than 4-6 months nursing, rocking, bouncing to sleep is effective and totally reasonable. While some babies this young will figure out how to sleep through the night most will wake up 2-3 times a night (newborns may wake up 4-6 times but this usually settles down within a few weeks). You feel tired and develop a substantial coffee habit but this is what being the parent of a baby requires and so you do it.

But you are hoping for the night your baby delights and surprises you by sleeping all night long. I mean REALLY all night long (not the crazytown “4 hours in a row” that many sleep books talk about).

Your baby also hasn’t yet mastered how to fall asleep on their own. She still needs to be rocked, nursed, etc. and complains loudly when you deviate from this routine. Some babies are champion sleepers who figure out how to fall asleep on their own. How delightful it must be for these lucky parents of easy babies. These babies sleep often and easily, establish predictable nap schedules, rarely fuss, and poop unicorns.

Most babies are not so easy.

When to Put Baby Down Awake?

Newborn Baby Sleeping QuietlyFor the first 3 months you are welcome to nurse, rock, bounce, etc. your baby to sleep guilt-free. No you don’t want to let your baby become overtired and yes various soothing techniques/use of swings will HELP her fall asleep. But the truth is that you have enormous flexibility to help your baby sleep however and wherever it works best for everybody for the first few months.

The easiest (this, of course, is a relative term) time to work on teaching babies to fall asleep on their own is ~3-6 months of age. If you are the parent of a 3-6 month old you may be thinking, “Um…this isn’t easy at ALL!” For some babies it’s NEVER easy. So maybe you could consider that 3-6 months of age is a time when it will likely be less horrible to teach your baby to fall asleep on their own?

6-9 months is less ideal. Why? Because most babies are starting to get teeth and this brings it’s own night challenges into the equation. Because some babies start developing separation anxiety around this time (8-12 months tends to be the peak) and this can complicate your efforts to put her down and leave the room.

But most importantly, if you haven’t gotten your baby to fall asleep on her own by 6-9 months you are likely to find that your baby who was waking up 2-3 times a night while a newborn has turned into a 6 month old who now wakes up every 45 minutes all night long and if this continues you will willingly shove bamboo shoots up your own fingernails because this would be preferable to another long night of waking up every 45 minutes.

Why You Need to Put Baby Down Awake

Read this carefully. Don’t skim it, ACTUALLY read it. What I’m about to tell you is the single most important thing you need to know about why 99% of babies older than 6 months are crappy sleepers. What I’m about to tell you is the answer to every post on every desperate new-baby forum where desperately exhausted parents are asking questions like:

  • My baby used to sleep great and now is up all night. I think he’s teething – help!
  • My 8 month old is hungry all night long. I’m afraid my milk is drying up. What can I do to increase milk production?
  • 7 month old used to sleep great in the crib but now will only sleep while being held. My back is killing me. How do I get her back into her own bed?
  • 9 month old is having terrible separation anxiety and now demands that we come back into his room and rock him all night long. We’re soooo tired. Anybody know when things will get better?
  • How do I get my 14 month old baby to sleep through the night?

The answer to all of these questions/challenge is actually THE SAME. The following 2 pieces of information are the missing links that most parents don’t understand and that fundamentally hinder their ability to help their child sleep through the night.

#1 Object Permanence

Most babies develop a new skill around 6 months (give or take a month) called object permanence. Prior to this for babies, out of sight LITERALLY meant out of mind. Now they can remember things, people, etc. exist even when they can’t see them. This is closely linked with stranger/separation anxiety which occurs because now your child actually remembers that you exist when you aren’t physically present. For the first time they are capable of missing you. Which is really sweet but often hard to enjoy. It also means that they are now capable of remembering that you were THERE when they fell asleep but are MISSING when they wake up.

Many of you will know EXACTLY when your child mastered this skill. It was the day your once decently-sleeping baby became a short-napper who wakes up all night long.

#2 – Baby Sleep is Fundamentally Different from Yours

Most nights adult sleepers will wake up ever so slightly ~4 hours after they fell asleep. Usually you fluff your pillow, roll over, and aren’t even really aware that it happens. Unless you’re pregnant in which case this is probably when you make your nightly trip to the bathroom.
What Your Sleep Looked Lke Before You Had Kids

Babies wake up all night long. Sometimes they may need your help or a quick meal to fall back asleep. But I promise you that between bedtime and morning your baby wakes up far more often than you know. Beyond the times when they wake YOU up they also cycle into light sleep far more often than adults do. This is roughly how your baby sleeps from 0-6 months of age:
Modified infographic from Dr. Richard Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems

Babies who have not yet developed object permanence can be happily rocked, bounced, or nursed to sleep without issue. They’ll wake up 2-4 times each night to be fed and/or rocked back to sleep. It’s not the most fun thing you’ve ever done but it’s to be expected of newborn babies. So you clutch your coffee with white-knuckled hands and dream of the day your baby sleeps through the night. But putting your baby down 100% asleep will seem like it’s a winning strategy. For now.

But once your baby develops object permanence putting baby down while asleep will almost always blow up on you. Now your baby remembers that when they fell asleep you were there. When they move into light sleep where they used to simply fall asleep on their own, they wake themselves up fully. Because you were there, and now you aren’t. Worse, they’re generally pretty upset. In their own baby world they’re yelling at you saying, “Hey! Where did you go! What happened?”

Why babies sleep poorly after they develop object permanence

Let’s put this in perspective. Imagine going to bed in your bedroom. A few hours later you wake up on your front lawn. Would you simply roll over and go back to sleep in the grass? Or would you stand up and start screaming? Would you demand loudly to be let back into the house so that you could sleep in your bed? Do you think you would be freaked out by the mysterious force that somehow carried you out to the lawn?

Your baby is reacting to the surprise of finding out that the circumstances they observed when falling to sleep is no longer the circumstance they are finding when they wake up. There are lots of different surprises that can result in a baby who wakes up all night long.

  • Putting baby down 100% asleep
  • Pacifier use – fell asleep in mouth, wake up not in mouth
  • Mobiles or other timed devices – on when fell asleep, off when wake up
  • Music used at bedtime but not played all night long
  • Mommy/Daddy stay in room till baby falls asleep but then sneak out

Now you and your baby are up all night. Even worse, their longest window of uninterrupted sleep probably occurs before you even go to bed so now you are literally up all night.

Thus, in children, the first three or four hours of the night are spent mainly in very deep sleep from which the child is not easily aroused. Parents are often aware of this fact, because the period of lighter sleep that follows, with more frequent wakings, may begin at about the time they are going to sleep themselves.
-Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems Dr. Ferber

That Way Madness Lies

Most people don’t understand these two things. They don’t understand what a fundamental shift object permanence is in their baby’s perception of the world. And they don’t understand how different sleep for babies is from our own. So they continue to rock, nurse, etc. baby to sleep. Things are getting worse but they’re desperately clinging to the hope that it’s just a temporary sleep regression. Maybe it’s a tooth that has yet to erupt. Perhaps they just started daycare and are hoping that everybody will settle into the new routine and things will get easier.

They won’t.

Bedtime Battles with BabyIf you continue to surprise your baby by changing the circumstances after they fall asleep, you’ll find yourself with a baby who starts to fight falling asleep. They become hyper-vigilant at bedtime because they know that you’re trying to sneak out. Some babies will fight sleep desperately trying to keep an eye on you so you can’t go anywhere. The baby who used to cuddle and laugh with you at bedtime is now agitated and anxious.

Imagine the scenario where you woke up on the front lawn. How many times would this have to happen before you started to struggle to fall asleep in your bed? Before worry about the mysterious alien force that was moving you in your sleep kept you from sleeping AT ALL?

This hypervigillance is completely understandable from their perspective, isn’t it?

So now you’ve added bedtime battles to list of fun things you’re dealing with at night. You’re probably dealing with it during the day too as the surprises that are waking your child up all night are making their naps short during the day. The 4 month old who used to take a 2.5 hour nap is now a 9 month old who never sleeps longer than 45 minutes. And she wakes up miserable and is generally inconsolable for half an hour every time she sleeps.

Of course now that her naps are significantly shorter and she’s getting poor quality sleep at night (because she’s constantly waking up) she’s a lot less fun to be around. As are you, because you are morphing into a bleary-eyed troll who can’t remember where she put the car keys and is so cranky the mailman is afraid to deliver packages to your house.

Ah….good times.

When Does it End?

This ends when you stop surprising your child when they sleep. When you stop rocking them to sleep. Stop nursing them to sleep. Stop cuddling them to sleep and then sneaking out the door. When you stop using any timed device (mobile, music, etc.). When you stop using pacifiers at bedtime.

Your child wakes up many more times a night than you do. The scene they find when they wake up needs to be IDENTICAL to the one they saw when they fell asleep.

No this is not the ONLY reason why older babies and toddlers wake up at night. But this is the MOST LIKELY reason.

When you’re ready to stop shuffling around like a sleep-deprived zombie, you’re going to need to come up with a plan to teach your child to fall asleep in such a way that there will be no surprises throughout the night. You and your partner need to commit to that plan. And put it into action.

The series continues so keep reading!

What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through The Night – Part 2
What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through The Night – Part 3

Anybody have any experiences with this they would like to share? Lessons learned? Happy success stories?

{photo credit: Paul Sapiano}


  1. Hello! I just posted about my daughter in the swing section of this site but I have a question about putting the baby down awake. She will be 3 months old in a week. At night she sleeps in her cosleeper and can usually go down awake with a few tries, although she needs to be shushed and rocked a little first in order to calm her and my husband also sometimes rocks the cosleeper back and forth for a few minutes while shushing her after she is in it. Does this count as putting the baby down awake? I know that ultimately we will want to wean her off shushing and rocking and jiggling the cosleeper, but I figure at least she knows that she is in her cosleeper when she falls asleep. She goes down around 9 pm wakes 2-3 times at night to nurse, and wakes up for the day anytime between 7:30 and 9:15ish.

  2. Hi Alexis,

    I have been dealing with sleep issues with my beautiful son since literally the day he turned 4 months old (he’s just about 9 months now). Until that point, he was sleeping 7 – 9 hours at night and I was convinced that I was the best mom ever (haha, I was sooooo wrong!) At 4 months it was like he flipped a switch and became a horrible sleeper. I read everything I could but somehow kept missing your site. Then 2 weeks ago, after lots of crying and praying, I found your site and read about object permanence. That night I tried putting him to sleep awake rather than nursing him to sleep and BOOM, slept through the night for the first time in ages! This worked for a week, one bad night, then worked for a week again. Now all of a sudden, his sleep is worse than ever….any thoughts?! Let me just say, I love your site and your blog…full of helpful information and comic relief! Thank you!! Honestly, the second I found your site, it was like my hope was restored that someday this gorgeous, happy all the time but when I want to sleep baby, will sleep again! :)

    • I’d go to Kellymom.com for this one. Your child is likely too young for object permanence. At four months, your child all of a sudden notices the world, and is likely popping off the breast every time someone walks in the room or the tv gets turned on. This constant distraction is cutting into his nursing. He is trying to make up for that at night. The best thing you can do is make sure that his nursing sessions are sufficiently long and distraction free. http://kellymom.com/parenting/nighttime/4mo-sleep/

      • She said he’s 9 months… Not 4.

        • My bad, I should have said that at four months, object permanence *wouldn’t* have kicked in, it would have been something else, which may have or not still been the problem. At any rate, he was ten months when I wrote it, and he’s about 18 months old now, so it’s kind of a moot point.

  3. Chrissy McCarrin

    I am so thankful I found this website/article. My daughter is 7mo today. She has woken up many times a night since she was born and I am exhausted. She was able to be laid in her crib and go to sleep every nap and each night. I could not figure out why she would wake up during the night if I was doing it right. We started to feel more and more that we should wean her off of her pacifier. I figured that she woke up because she needed to eat, she wanted me or she wanted her pacifier. I had a hard time deciding to do this. I was even on the phone with the doctor just yesterday and he confirmed that she did not need to eat during the night at this age and that the sooner I get her to learn to sleep better, the better. So last night I had every intention to gradually wean her of her pacifier as this is the only thing she is needing throughout the night that she goes to bed with. My husband cut the tip off too much so we ended up basically getting rid of it cold turkey. The first night she cried for a half hour. Yes it was hard. Yes I hated it. She slept 11 hours straight; the first time ever. The second night (tonight), she went to sleep without so much as a peep. She didn’t use her pacifier all day today. I hope my success (even though short lived thus far) can give you hope. My biggest piece of advice is to lose anything that prevents your LO from putting him/herself back to sleep. Teach your child to fall asleep. Follow this article, it works!

  4. This has literally made my day. I’m sat here bleary eyed feeling resentful at my 7 month old son who is currently finding miserable mummy and lack of conversation very funny while smiling and cooing at me. I’m finding some hope at last that me and my husband can at some point (with a lot of work) finally get our nights back (and our strength) and share the joke with our little lad that finds everything so funny because at the moment he’s the only one laughing!

  5. This post saved my life! I used to rock my baby to sleep and hold him to sleep during the day. He hated his cot, I’ve been trying to make him nap there since he was 2 weeks old and just couldn’t do it. At night I would rock him and put him down asleep and it was fine. Tried the baby whisperer’s tips, CIO, but it was hard. He could cry for 2 hours non stop. I had a routine since he was 2 months old and when he was around 7 months he started waking up every hour at night. This lasted about 2 weeks and it was horrible for me and my husband. I read loads of books and ended up here. Everything made loads of sense and I decided to let him fall asleep in his bed. My strategy was to undo what I was doing slowly. First I rocked him to almost asleep and put him in bed. Then I just held him a bit then put in bed. After I just had to put him in bed. It wasn’t easy, but I was persistent and since he was 8 months old he sleeps 10-11 hours a night. That was when I cut feeding him at night too. Now he is one, has 2 naps a day and sleeps through the night.
    Thank you very much!!!

    • my son is 6 months and needs to be rocked to sleep.He also wakes up every 2 hours.I would like to try a similar strategy as yours.What would you do when he woke up? Im scared that not picking him up quickly enough and rocking him would mean that he is wide awake and would make me start the cycle from scratch.He has also been teething now and we have been letting him cosleep for the last 3 weeks.Im subconsciously comforting him all night as I don’t want him to wake up.Ive just made it worst for myself now he wont sleep in his cot.
      Neha recently posted..Eat Play Sleep FailMy Profile

      • Hi Neha! Is your son sleeping in your bed during nap time as well? If he is sleeping in his cot during the day, then there’s a proof he can do it. Even if not, you can change this and believe me, the sooner the better. I rocked my baby to sleep but whenever he woke up at night I used to feed him or give him his dummy. There’s a sleep regression around 7 months that is hard, maybe you are in this stage. My son is now 13 months old and hasn’t got any teeth so I can’t give you advice about teething, although some of my friends say it’s 2-3 nights of bad sleep and a grumpy baby during the day.
        I would stop cosleeping, after 3 weeks is well into his system. From experience I realised that a new routine takes 3 days to work, gradually getting better. The secret is to be consistent. I’m not going to lie, first time he woke up and I didn’t feed him he cried for 40 min but then the following day was only 20 min, and so on. Make him sleep in his cot during day time and night, rock him to almost asleep but put him down awake. He will cry but he will be tired. I used to leave the room and come back every 2 minutes to reassure him (no eye contact, dummy in his mouth and leave the room again). I thought it would never work, but after 30 min he fell asleep. I found that the easiest time to start was the first nap of the day. Keep doing the same thing, he will learn. After about a week I just put him in bed without rocking then left the room. That was the hardest, but eventually it worked.
        I was so tired that I thought the situation had to change. A couple of days or even weeks of exhaustion are worth the months to come of enough sleep.
        Hope I can help and keep me informed!

  6. Can you please explain something I’ve never understood about object permanence and sleep training?

    I’ve read frequently on message boards that sleep training is a bad idea prior to 6 months because babies who haven’t developed object permanence don’t understand that their parents will come back for them. I just read a letter in a peer-reviewed scientific journal that says the same thing (Price, Hiscock, & Gradisar, Early Hum Dev, 2013). Similarly, your explanation of the need for sleep training suggests that babies who have developed object permanence are the most vulnerable to sleep problems that can be fixed by sleep training, which implies that sleep training is good for babies at this stage.

    At the same time, I’ve also heard that 8-9 months is a bad time for sleep training because of separation anxiety, which as I understand it results from object permanence. Also, saying that prior to object permanence “they can’t understand that their parents will come back for them” has never made sense to me. In order to worry about whether their parents will come back, don’t they need to remember that their parents exist, which is precisely what happens when they acquire object permanence? It seems to me that, in fact, before object permanence, what they don’t understand is precisely the opposite — that their parents could leave them and not come back!

    Know what I mean? So what’s the deal? Can you clarify?

  7. I don’t usually comment on websites but I wanted to say thank you for the simple, easy-to-understand advice and the repetition to believe in this ‘put-baby-to-sleep-drowsy’ thing. Starting around 6 months, my daughter (who was previously a decent night sleeper at 3 months.. 1 night feed only) was starting to wake up 2-3 times a night. I was getting tired and even though I read all the books, and *knew* i was supposed to be putting her down drowsy, I started letting her fall asleep in my lap after nursing, because it was easy. To my surprise, last week, I laid her in the crib one night barely awake and she didnt protest! I jetted out of the room and she settled in after 20 minutes of squirming. The direct correlation was obvious: that night she slept from 730p-6a with NO interruptions. The next 3 nights have not been as smooth, she has cried loud for 20 min, 12 min, 10 min, but every time has put her self down eventually, and has slept at least 10 hours. I read this site at exactly the right time because it’s easy to blame it on teeth, hunger, etc. Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. I’m so glad I read this because I was at my wits end, I’m so sleep deprived and just figured it was his teething. This object permanence is exactly what he is going through. Thank you so much for this helpful and insightful article. I do need some advice on how to make my baby’s routine the same every night with out surprises, if I try to let him fall asleep by himself in his crib on his own do I just put him in and leave the room? If I keep going in to comfort him will that be a surprise to him, which will cause him to keep waking up? He has never went to sleep on his own, he will scream at the top of his lungs till he starts coughing and even gagging to throw up because he is so wound up, I need advice on how to start this process, I’m so exhausted and can’t keep going on like this.

    Thank you

  9. Our son is a micro preemie who will be a year the end of the month (9 months adjusted). He’s not always been the bet sleeper, mostly due to his not caring for the oxygen at night (who would) and then as luck would have it he started teething. Not just teething, but it’s pretty painful for him 24×7. He goes to bed at 7 and was going well (maybe one wake up), about a week and a half ago he stated waking up at 4 am bright eyes and ready to go. I’m not sure what to do to get him back to sleep. He doesn’t cry, he just lays there wide awake. So far the only thing that does work is a bottle, does that mean he’s not getting enough during the day?

  10. OMG! What is happening to my 8 month old! We did the CIO around 6 months and it has worked wonders! She was sleeping through the night from 7:15 – 6 or 7 am! She would occasionally wake up for a bottle and go right back to sleep. Even when she was teething, it wasn’t that bad. NOW…since exactly turning 8 months old, I feel like I have a newborn again! She goes down no later than 7:30 but lately has been waking up 2-3 times. For example she woke up at 3 last night, took a 7 oz bottle and then would not go back to sleep until 4:30! Then she was up at 6:15 and at 7 had another 6 oz! This has been happening for the past week! I am so tired and hoping this is a phase. I am a first time mom, so I am not sure if it’s a growth spurt or she also has started to crawl. Will that make her sleep schedule different? Any advice will help!!! Do I just go with the flow and let it ride or is there something I can do?

    • Same thing is happening with our 8 month old. He knows how to fall asleep on his own through CIO but last night he woke up an hour after bedtime screaming and then wouldn’t go back to sleep until 10pm. Then he woke up at 1, put himself back to sleep but woke up again at 2am screaming and we were so tired we brought him to bed with us but he was so restless. The night before last he slept 9 hours in a row without a peep and we didn’t do anything different. I don’t really have any advice and no one really has any advice for me since I don’t want to listen to hours of shrieking all night.

      • Lena, Well things actually got a lot better the past couple days. It was horrible thursday night and we were at our wits end and finally we ended up putting her in her room by herself. We would room share and I think she knew I was there and would soothe her and to be honest, since we put her in her own room, she is back to sleeping on her own all night!
        What we did was put a lovely and a glow in the dark paci in her crib and we would would just do our normal routine and lay her down and hopes that she would be comfortable with the lovely and paci. and it seems to have worked! I also slept with one of her crib sheets so my scent would be on it and put that in her crib. My ped did say that around this time, it’s normal to have separation anxiety as well as if they reach a milestone, they usually are sleepless. He said it would pass in a couple weeks and it did (well at least for now). Good Luck!

        • we are having the same issues with our 7 month old the last month. not sure if that could be separation anxiety that early?? she wakes between 4 or 5 am and just talks to herself for almost an hour every night! there usually is no crying so we don’t go to her because that seem to wake her up more. i thought about trying wake to sleep or giving her a dream feed but not sure if its a good idea. any thoughts?

  11. Hi,

    I actually sleep trained my boy when he was about 8 weeks old and things were going well until the 12week (3mths) growth spurt. Before the growth spurt, he will sleep at 6 plus in the evening, I’ll pick him up at 10-11 for a dreamfeed and he will wakeup at 4 for a feed and then 7am for his first feed of the day. After the growth spurt, he is back to waking up every 3-4hours.

    I put him to sleep on his tummy since he was 5 weeks (yes i do know the risk of SIDS by doing so) and now he only know how to sleep on his tummy. This posed as a problem in re training him to sleep through the night as he would flip from tummy to back, get startled and then awake. I have to tend to him cause when left on the back for too long, he will completely wake up.

    People have asked me to ride it out until he learns to flip from back to tummy. Is there a solution to this? I do want to retrain him as he is 4 months old now.

  12. Thank you. We’ve just started CIO – 2 nights in and I already want to invite you to our sons 1st birthday party. He was sleeping well on his own, then got an ear infection at 8.5 months. We rocked him to sleep for a week and then experienced everything you talk about here. We’re beginning to get back on track and I couldn’t be more thankful for your site. I never leave comments- but just wanted you to know how much I appreciated this info!

  13. My son goes to sleep in his own bed during the day and at bedtime but once he wakes during the night (usually around 10pm), nothing in the world will persuade him to go back to sleep in his own bed. So into my bed he comes and we have a night of waking for a quick feed every 2-3 hours.

    My question is, what do you do with night wakings? I think read somewhere on this site that CIO is not the answer (and I can’t use it anyway as my flatmate would strangle me). So what to do when he wakes at night?

  14. So I put a sound maker (the ipad with a sound maker app) on for my 5 month old daughter last night and miracle of all miracles, she slept ALL night! We still had some issues getting her into the crib at the start of the night but once she was down she stayed down! Tonight we will see if it was a fluke lol! Thank you for all of the help :)

  15. Advice please!!!
    Our almost 5 month old was sleeping well in his room in non moving swing. We moved him to crib for nighttime a few weeks ago and it went well for a few nights, but now he is struggling. He does seem to be teething which doesn’t help, but we think the pacifier was also causing problems… Last night I had to go in MANY times to give paci in order for him to fall back asleep (not sure he is always really awake). He has fallen asleep on his own for several months but tonight we decided not to leave the paci in when he was falling asleep.

    My question… He still naps in the swing, so is it ok to give him the paci at naps (he does pretty well most days with naps) or is that too confusing? We rarely use the paci during the day, other than at nap time or occasionally in car or to help if he is really upset. Thanks for any advice! We really want to get back to our one night feeding being the only wake up during the night!

    • I know you would prefer to hear from Alexis but as this is an old post it may not happen. But I know Alexis does say in one of her posts (I have read and re-read them all so can’t remember what one) that babies distinguish naps and night sleep differently so It is perfectly fine to remove the paci for night but keep for naps until ready.
      Having said that I had to get rid of the paci at 4 and 1/2 months as I was constantly replacing it through the night (on 2 nights 20 times in 1 hr!. I did naps and night all at once using the Ferber method. While there was one or two rough nights by day 5 all was good and I found that she seemed much happier through the day as well – maybe coincidence but I think learning to sooth her self without the paci maybe helped her self control?

  16. Hi, I have the same question as Sonal really.

    My little girl is 5 1/2 months and we self settled really early. The trouble is I lost my way around the 4 month mark!

    I’m trying to correct it but does it count if she is nearly completely asleep but aware she is being placed in her cot? She often will stir, open her eyes, look around and then drop right off again as she is put down.

    I have no real problem at the moment as she wakes once, which I am happy with (BF), but would like to avoid any later issues.

  17. I have a seven and a half month baby who self-settles herself when put to bed at night, but has started waking up crying during the night every couple of hours (she’s slept ten to eleven hours a night since she was three months old). I suspect it’s the onset of object permanence, but she’s been doing this for weeks now. Is this a situation when CIO is going to help? I’ve done CIO with her before in order to get her to self-settle, but she’s definitely regressed in the past couple of weeks and is refusing to settle herself during the night, and is particularly bad after 4/5am. Will this resolve on it’s own, or do I need to take CIO action?

  18. Very Sleep Deprived Mum

    I found this quite interesting.. as I have 9month old twin boys & really looking for a solution to get them to sleep through.. but as the above reads ‘this behaviour will stop once you stop surprising your baby’ from the day my boys were born they were placed in their cots awake as I believe this is a good idea for them to establish sleep from play.. but it certainly didn’t make a difference in helping them sleep through..

    • I too have twins, 6 and a half months old, sleeping in cribs, and put down awake. They’re up each 3 or so times before midnight and can’t put themselves back to sleep. And then I’m up like every hour after that. I’m beyond tired and no suggestion works. We have white noise, bedtime routine, put down awake, etc, all suggestions used and nothing helps them stay asleep. We don’t go running in when they wake, we leave them to see if they can figure it out, but they just end up hyperventalating and I have to go in and nurse them back to sleep. CIO seems like the only option left, and I honesty think they would just cry all night long anyways, and keep the whole house up…I feel ya, and I thought by doing everything “right” that they would sleep better. Hey at this point if I was only up 4 times a night I’d be happy with that! Sad huh!?

  19. I’d like to hug you.

    I think I’ve told my husband, verbatim, everything I just read, during the past two weeks. SO satisfying to read this!

  20. I’m not seeing the results others are- I put my 6 mo down to sleep around 7:30 or 8 pm after a bath and a book (fully fed) and always AWAKE, he puts himself to sleep every night with no tears (he’s been doing this since he turned 4 months) but has recently started waking every 2 hours and every hour between 2 and 5 am. He hasn’t magically slept through the night once! He has 3 predictable naps during the day all at least 30 to 40 mins long. He’s never slept longer than 5-6 hours at a whack and that was months ago (when he was 3 months old). He sleeps in his crib next to my bed but usually by 2 am I am so exhausted I move him into my bed so I don’t have to keep getting up to soothe him. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Mostly I’m writing this just to get it out and vent a little- but any suggestions would be welcomed!

  21. So my 7 week old basically behaves just like the post-6-month-old you describe above- every time she wakes a LITTLE, if the circumstances aren’t just the way she likes them (i know she can’t really *remember* at this point, but she knows what she likes) she comes all the way awake and will start to cry. We don’t let her get to the point of screaming, since she’s only 7 weeks, but if we didn’t respond within a few minutes she would!

    She is also hyper-vigilant when she gets tired and fights going to sleep like nobody’s business.

    At this point she CAN sleep a few hours in a row and will if we let her stay in the bed, but in the cosleeper she practically always wakes up within an hour, sometimes much less than an hour.

    Your advice above doesn’t seem to apply, since she’s so young. Is there something we can do to encourage sleeping in the cosleeper? I know that’s where the AAP wants her to sleep, and she’s going to get moved out of the bed eventually! Or at 7 weeks should we just not worry about it and let her in the bed sometimes?


  22. HELP! My son is nine months and he wakes up almost every hour. We cosleep and I nurse him to sleep and when he wakes. He has always been a horrible sleeper. My husband and I have been talking about getting a crib. How do I make the transition to cosleeping and nursing all night to having him sleep alone without nursing? I just tried to not nurse him when he woke up, he cried for almost 20 minutes even with me holding him, I gave in and nursed him and it took him 5 minutes to calm down. Then after he was aslseep I set him next to me and he woke up again 10 minutes later. I am so tired I can’t do it anymore we do this every night. Someone please help. Thank you!

  23. Our son is 14mth old and he has never been a great sleeper (unlike our 2.5yo). As a newborn he would not sleep if it was too quiet; so into the cot in the nursery to be around ‘noise’ of his older brother during the day. As he got older he would go down in the cot at night, but when we tried to move him to our room when we went to bed he would wake, so we ended up just moving him perm to the cot in the nursery. Around about 6mths he would go to sleep easily enough but wake at slight noise and his crying at night woke his brother, resulting in door shutting etc and rocking and holding etc at night to get him to go back to sleep. By about 7mths we moved houses and decided it was time to start CIO b/c it had worked for his brother. Our ‘friendly’ neighbors took issue to our ‘baby crying at all hours of the day and night’, confronting us at 2am and threatening to call Child Services. Needless to say that took several months just for me to get over; resulting in me running into him whenever he cried, rocking him to sleep and the usual other things one tries. Fast forward a few months and we had a 10mth old who couldn’t self settle, and waking several times through the night. Fast forward a few more months to now…

    So my husband deployed overseas with the military a month ago. Bub is now a 14mth old toddler. He fell asleep just as we were getting home from dropping Daddy at the airport, and I tried to get him inside asleep but without any luck. The next 2 weeks resulted in him refusing to sleep day or night, refusing to lay down in his cot despite trying CIO and him crying for 3hrs. It got so bad that some afternoons I did emerg drives so that he got a little sleep, as he would sleep in the car. I used CIO and the Sleep Shuffle from Kim West’s Goog Night, Sleep Tight book for our 1st son with great results, so I tried this on bub. CIO no luck. Sleep Shuffle a bit better, but I feel stuck at the doorway most of the time. And he still wakes approx. 3 times a night, mostly with me having to sit there until he’s asleep. Sometimes I am just too tired and let him CIO, but I’m worried about our neighbors at night. Some days he seems ready for his nap but just plays and cries if I leave, so I sit there for ages waiting for him to sleep.

    Being on my own (for the next 6mths) I am concerned about how I’m going to cope. Plus I’m so tired during the day that his elder brother is copping it.

    Is it separation anxiety due to Daddy leaving? Is it object permanence b/c I still use a dummy and sneak away once he’s asleep. Is it something else? Help!

  24. Just found your site after fighting to get my 6 month old to sleep during the day for the past few weeks!!! She was great at her day time naps (an hour on the morning and 2 in the afternoon) now I’m lucky if its half an hour each time…
    After reading this I’ve found we are guilty of everything :( the falling asleep feeding, the pacifier, the music…the lot!!!
    So I suppose my question is, do we stop it all at once?? Or do it one by one?? Any advise would be great tganks

  25. Amen!! A few months ago, I read the “put your baby down awake” method when my little girl was around 6 months old, and after a few nights of her crying her to sleep, she started going to bed with ease AND sleeping 10 hours a night. I 100% agree with everything you say and wildly enjoyed the way you said it. You are just as funny as you think you are :) Thank you!

  26. What about spinners? My nearly 6 month old does not yet roll over but he does spin/rotate in his crib. He wakes himself up when his little feet hit the crib rails in his now perpendicular position. This does seem to disorient him and the surprise means at least one extra late night, sleepy trip down the hall for me. Moving him back to his original position seems to wake and upset him further. Has anyone else had this issue? Is there a safe way to prevent this?

  27. Studies indicate that infants as young as 3.5 months demonstrate object permanence. How does this fit into your above discussion?

  28. Something you said in this article:

    “No this is not the ONLY reason why older babies and toddlers wake up at night. But this is the MOST LIKELY reason.”

    We ended up using your CIO method. It worked. Beautifully. Within 10, our 7 month old girl was going to bed, awake, with little to no fussing. But then she wakes up 3-4 hours later. And again every 2 hours after that. Most times she will not go back to sleep without a short feeding (2-4 minutes of nursing and she passes out, or 2oz of formula). Now that she has her bedtime routine down, should we be letting her CIO in the middle of the night? My husband and I are exhausted, and we just want everyone to get a good night’s sleep! Help!!!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Have you read this:


      I hope it helps. If not then click the yellow button the right and come and chat in the google community, some of the ladies there have had tough nuts to crack!


      • So I read the article, and it doesn’t look like we are falling into any of those traps. However, the chart describes my baby’s sleep/wake pattern to a tee! The last boob she gets is at least an hour before bed time (she gets a bottle if she needs to be topped off, but has at least 20 minutes between feed and bed) but she seems to need the boob to fall asleep when she wakes at night. I’ll try anything, so I guess the link you left for me is next!

  29. Alexis,

    Thank you so much for your help thus far! I have two quick questions. First off, I am now using the swing to help my 4 month old twins transition more easily to their cribs. As I do this should, I only use the swing when it is time for naps and bedtime, or is it ok to also use it for playtime. Secondly, I have them falling asleep on their own most of the time, but they are still waking up to eat in the night at least twice. When they wake up and eat, they normally fall asleep while breastfeeding…do I need to put them back down awake during the night at these times? Thank you again for your help!

    Megan Brown

  30. Dear Alexis,

    Firstly, thank you for an absolutely wonderful read and 3-part post which is by far the most informative I have come across whilst scouring the web for mummy tips and hints for those in week 25 of their precious bub’s life. I’ve ticked yes, yes and yes to fighting to nap, waking more often and being fully awake. The mystery is that Baby C has been sleeping on his own for some time now when put down awake in the crib or on our bed, so it appears to be the development of object permanence/separation anxiety which has shaken him to the core! What tips do you have for this newly developed protest crying – do we need to start from step one again? Due to de quervins, we’ve been co-sleeping the past couple of months, but Baby C would wake twice only for a feed at 10:30pm and 4:30am (I know, I’m not complaining here). Last night he was awake and miserable, and could not be rocked/nursed/or left alone. But was quite happy to be held upright and observe our zombie-like state! Is it perhaps time to move him back to his crib, or is it the dreaded wonder week 26?

  31. My baby is 4 months old next Tuesday. I think we already went through the sleep regression and now are getting better sleep but there are a few scattered nights were she wakes up every 2 hours. She has been put to sleep in her crib for about 3 weeks now and does well there. I put her to bed at 8 now (was 9 or 9:30 a few weeks ago) but I nurse or bounce her to sleep the first time I put her down. The usual habit is that she will wake up at about 1 am and 4 am to eat. I feed her, burp her, and put her down. Lately she had been mostly asleep after I feed her but she wakes up when I lay her in her crib. She has been pretty good about falling asleep on her own though.
    I have been terrible with naps, letting her fall asleep when and where she wants; until today. Today I have been using the swing method and starting a routine about 2 hours after she wakes up from her last sleep. She is swaddled and there is white noise playing. It has worked amazingly well. No pacifier and while she is pretty darned drowsy after I nurse her she is awake when I put her in the swing and falls asleep within a few minutes.
    My question is: should I use the swing at night now or keep up with the crib? I am reluctant abandon all the work I did to get her in the crib but I am not sure how awake she is when I put her in there and if I don’t nurse her right before putting her down she will cry and cry. Also, the swing doesn’t fit well in her nursery but we can make it work if it is only for a few weeks.
    While we consider ourselves very lucky so far I want to do the best to make sure she sleeps well in the future with as little disruption as possible.
    Thanks! Your blog has been so helpful!

  32. hi alexis

    thanx for z article.. its veryyyy useful i finally undetstiod whats happenening with my baby.
    but i really need ur assistance and advice.. my baby is 7 months and half i have been waking up for him every hour for z last 3 weeks, im very tired and cant bare it any more.. i know where is z problem by now as he cant put himself to sleep without my assisstance by nursing him. i have tried all z recommended solutions but all failed.. tried putting him drowsy also letft him to cry it out but all failed. also im not able to night wean him as everytime he wakes up he needs to be nursed to b able to sleep again and if i did nt he keeps crying lound and resists sleeping.

    apprciate ur support.

  33. My 8 month old is having trouble going to sleep on her own again and waking up crying at midnight and 3 am. something she wasn’t doing on her own. She is perfectly capable of falling asleep on her own , though not without fuss. She takes 2 1 hr naps during the day and is in her crib by 7:30 most nights.

    the thing is she is sleeping in our bedroom.I’m wondering if she cries when she awakes because , when she fell asleep she was on her own and now she senses us there and she knows if we are there , we will pick her up?

    I’m not sure what to do because this is the best sleeping arrangement we can do for now.

    will a room separator work so she doesn’t see us when she wakes up?

    ideas? advice?

    thank you!

  34. Hello, my 7 month old still only naps for 30 mins if don’t swaddle during the day, she sleeps without it at night, goes to sleep on her own in the dark with white noise for naps and night, sleeps well at night, wakes but goes back on own, has small DF at 10 which am starting to decrease, i cannot spot tired signs with her, has never gone sleepy, is a very alert and nosey little girl, and will keep going until has a massive meltdown, which i avoid by putting down for naps 2/3 times a day, what are average awake times for a 7 month old, have tried between 1hr 30 and 3hours in morn and same results, struggling to fit in feeds etc. Wakes from naps with a poo a lot thats why think we need more of a routine to stop this! Please help. Do i stop the swaddle and start again with the 30 min nap and hope she improves on her own?

  35. Hi Alexis
    My 9 month old has never been a good sleeper and i don’t know where to start with addressing things, each day we just muddle through resulting in a very cranky child. Shes so exhausted by 6-7pm that she puts herself to sleep but then wakes crying 3 hours after has 3-4 ounces to soothe and then wakes again 3-4 hours looking for soothing but doesnt eat much and needs rocking holding until completely asleep, she cries if put down. Will cry it out work if she initially puts herself to sleep at the beginning of the night? i think we have created a nightwaking habit where she fully wakes herself as her body is used to doing this. in the day i have struggled to get her into a routine, she has never been a big eater so feed times change a lot (weaning has only complicated things further). Reading the masses of information out there i am utterly confused. the problems we have are:
    – highly wired at bedtime
    – short naps (puts self to sleep, “soothing” rocking etc just makes her more angry
    – early waking
    Restless sleep – we never know whether to go in as it just makes things worse
    We don’t breastfeed and have never co-slept so i cant even help her to sleep this way. I dont think she is waking from hunger at night but as her intake varies everyday i can never be sure (she doesnt seem to like milk in the day only solids so we try and increase dairy in her solids).
    i dont know whether to try address night sleep first then day sleep – from what i have read they are related so i’m in a vicious circle and dont know where to start. is confusing as they say good naps equal good night sleep but then also say, don’t allow a long morning nap as this compensates for night sleep, don’t allow a late afternoon nap, put baby to bed early (but then i can’t fot in her feedings so she may well be hungry)
    Any advice ou have would really be appreciated. i have a feeling CIO may actually be the kindest way to address things as if it works hopefully things should improve quicker

  36. My 8 month old goes into his cot awake with no dummy, no music, half an hour after being fed and settles himself…sometimes straight away and sometimes after a few tears. He wakes up 3 times a night and won’t settle…

  37. Alexis,
    I. Need. Help.
    My son has just recently turned 5 months old on the 5th. We have been working on the “putting baby down awake” since he was 3 months and one day old. It went surprisingly well. Our swing has 5 speeds, we went down to 4, then to 3, still no problems. We got rid of the paci (he started sucking his thumb)and no issue. He had consistently been having a 30 minute morning nap, 2 hr late morning/early afternoon nap and then 2 30 minute naps. The last usually ending by 6 and he was down for bed at 8.
    However, the past 3-4 weeks, without any obvious cause that I can find, his afternoon nap has cut to 30 minutes. I’m putting him down awake, he falls asleep on his own, I make sure there is at least 20 minutes between nursing and going down for his nap, I have not turned the swing down anymore and he is half swaddled (has to have that left arm out to get to his thumb). We do kind of struggle on his sleeping cues. Sometimes he goes down at 1 1/2 hrs, other days it’s 2 hrs. I truly don’t understand the fluctuation in times. But I’m trying so hard to put him down when he is not over tired. Many days after this half hour nap, he is still obviously tired but just won’t go back down. I usually let him fuss for at least 5-10 minutes just to see if he’ll go back to sleep, but he rarely does. Now for the last week he seems like he is trying to drop his last nap and after he goes down for the night he has started to wake up after 2 hours and he is up and down all night long, like 6 times a night. Before this he was sleeping 4-6 hour stretches and then getting up one other time to nurse. How could he stop his 2 hr nap and drop his last nap all within 3 weeks? And also be having night problems? He is not teething, he does not have an ear infection, and in the last 3 weeks has not been in a wonder weeks phase. I have NO IDEA what I am doing. I have no idea what I am doing WRONG, more specifically.
    My husband occasionally has him during the day and tells me he’ll sometimes just put him down on the floor play mat and walk away to do something and when he comes back, the baby is asleep and sleeps for over an hour! This has never EVER happened for me. I get the baby that has a break down if I don’t have him napping quickly enough. I feel like I am failing as a mother. I feel like I am doing everything right and I still suck. I am terrified that I will not have him out of the swing by the time he turns 6 months old and I will never have a baby that sleeps through the night.
    Please tell me what I am doing wrong. I am all for criticism if it’ll get him to sleep again. I’m so exhausted. PLEASE. HELP!
    Tasha recently posted..When Babies Drop Naps and What to Do About itMy Profile

  38. Hi Alexis – thanks so much for your site! It’s been a tremendous resource for this first time mom. Despite being a great sleeper for the first 8 or so months of his life, my son has been hot and cold with his sleep since then (I blame bad sleep habits while on vaction for the start of it…). As a now 16 month old, I would really like to see more consistency in his sleep (is that realistic?!?) or at least have a game plan for how to handle things.

    A few issues, that I would love your opinion on:
    1. Night Sleep: He has always fallen asleep on his own and over the last few months usually sleeps through the night. However, there are nights where he wakes up around 11:30 pm or 12:30 am and cries. We typically let him cry to see what will happen. Sometimes he goes back to sleep and sometimes he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, I (or my husband) will usually go in an pat his back until he calms down or I’ll pick him up and we fall asleep in his glider (I know this isn’t good, so we are really getting away from this – definite improvement since I stopped doing this regularily). Last night he cried for 2 hours and broke us. I finally went in and slept on the floor – I never touched him but my presense was enough to get him to sleep. Seperation anxitey?? Questions: he is very inconsistent with sleeping through the night – sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t. Maybe it’s teething, seperation anxiety, who knows? How do I know when to go in and when to let him cry. What if he’s sick? Does that change how I respond? What if he cries for hours on end? If we have visitors or are on vacation I hate to let him cry for fear of disturbing everyone!
    2. Vacation/Sleeping Away from home – has always been a problem. Won’t put himself to sleep without screaming doesn’t sleep through the night.
    3. Naps – sleeps noon – 2:30 pm at daycare without issue. At home, sleeps noon to 1 or 1:30 pm. Cries and will usually fall back asleep when we go in to get him. Do we just end the nap then or let him cry? I’d love to have him nap longer at home.

    Fhew, long comments, but would love any thoughts or advice you may have. Thank you!

  39. Ok we’re hitting the object permanence (Son is nearly 7 mo) thing now and I’m not sure what to do about. This week has been awful and every day/nap is different (maybe it’s just teething?). He went from going down asleep easily (we put him down awake and are looking to getting rid of the pacifier this week) to suddenly all hell breaking lose when we put him in his crib. The scream and I don’t mean crying or fussing, I mean screaming ‘someone is murdering me’ screaming until we give up. He gone to bed anywhere from 40-1.5 hour later then normal and naps haven’t been any better. I thought it was getting better, but not so sure. The first two naps of the day were fine – he went down awake in his crib with all the same stuff that had been there since he was 4 months old and he gave us a 1.45 min nap and an 1 hour. His third nap is now 1.5 hours overdue because anytime you get him near his crib he just starts screaming. He seems fine when he’s with us, I know he’s tired – he started rubbing his eyes so I did the nap routine for a second time and went to put him down and the screaming started again. He was fine for the first two naps of the morning and nothing changed! I don’t know what to do, why? Do you just let them cry it out when you think they are just missing you? The tears though I can’t stand the tears….

  40. I usually don’t leave comments, but I came across this website in desperate hopes of getting my son to sleep through the night. We started this sleep training a few weeks ago and it went well for a while. He will be 9 months old at the end of this month and is sleeping horribly! I was reading some of your posts about how separation anxiety is bad at this age and hopefully it passes soon. He will go to sleep in his crib on his own and then wake around 1:00 am. I will go in and soothe him and he will fall asleep until around 1:30 am and this continues for hours, finally I just give him a bottle. I hope it passes soon! Any suggestions??
    Abby recently posted..Pediatrics Study on White Noise: Sounding Off on Sound MachinesMy Profile

  41. Ok, so why is it that at night 4 of putting my 9 month old down awake she is still waking up (was up today from midnight to 4am. not so fun), still fighting naps and having short crappy naps? Alexis? Someone? Anyone?

    • Have you seen the post I link to below? I suspect it answers your question. Both this one and the other one about the paci….Check it out and let me know what you think. Cheers :)
      Alexis recently posted..Why Sleep Training Didn’t WorkMy Profile

      • Yup! I’ve read it!

        Accoring to your checklist, the only one that applies is that she is put down with her paci. if she wakes looking for it, she’ll reinsert it on her own and keep sleeping, but some days she really struggles to get back to sleep, even with the paci and after I go in to console her. Her paci is used ONLY for sleep. she doesn’t use it at any other time, so its a pretty strong sleep aid for her besides her blanket and a fan humming in the background. Do I just have no other option? Lose the paci or keep losing sleep? :(

  42. Yes, I KNOW this is the right thing to do (put baby down awake). But HOW?!?

    Any time that we have put him down “drowsy but awake”, the following scenarios happen:

    1. His eyes pop right open! NO WAIT! I’M NOT SLEEPY, MOMMY!! He lays awake until he starts crying. (He’ll cry for a long time and not go to sleep)

    2. He cries immediately.

    So, now what?

    • I’d also like to add that he is a tummy sleeper, so that adds another element…we did one night of CIO and he finally fell asleep after an hour and ten minutes…on his back. And then woke up 10 minutes later :/

  43. Oh What? Oh what do I do with a 10 month old who will sit or stand for hours… I mean hours in his crib???

    Quick background on my son:
    -Diagnosed with severe reflux at 2 months (due to this he has always been a terrible sleeper. Legitimatly!). Got it fairly under control around 7 months.
    -Did what we needed to do to survive by rocking and nursing to sleep.
    -Sleep trained at 7 months. Worked great at bedtime. We have a solid bedtime routine which ends with a bottle and then put down drowsy. Almost asleep. He opens his eyes, looks around the crib to get his bearings rolls over then goes to sleep. Rarely he falls asleep during the feeding.
    -He has always been a VERY active and curious baby.

    So, we have always struggled with naps. He was the only 8 week old anyone had ever seen that would fight sleep. We’re talking eyes rolling in the head while he sat in the swing but kept them open so he could look around. Because of the reflux and activity level I ALWAYS nursed him to sleep for naps.

    So my son started standing at 8 months. He rarely falls asleep anymore whil feeding before nap put down. Now when I put him down for naps (routine: diaper, bottle, down) my son could stand in his crib for hours. Seriously. If I leave him in his crib he will stay awake even though his eyes are red rimmed and rolling around for HOURS. Last week I decided to go cold turkey and he was in there like that talking, standing, sitting, fussing, crying, just sitting quietly for 2 hours!

    This morning I even tried standing there and laying him down immediately if he sat up. This went on for 45 minutes until my back and neck couldn’t take it so I left him for quiet time! Then this afternoon I tried keeping my hand on his chest to prevent him from sitting up. This turned into nasty crying and after 20 minutes I gave up.

    Alexis? Anyone? HELP!!!!!!!

  44. Hi Ladies,
    I was hoping for some advice PLEASE..
    My son is 7 months old and is a dream baby… during the day ;-) He is so happy and contented. He naps twice a day and gets about 2.5-3 hrs sleep for his day naps. Night time bed is a different story though. He does down to sleep in his cot between 6.30-7pm with no problems. He is awake but sleepy. Within 2-3 hours of him going to sleep he will wake up crying (this usually happens at about 9.30-10.30 pm. Some times I can put his dummy/pacifier back in his mouth and he’ll drift back to sleep, other times that solution only lasts a few minutes before he is crying again. I try patting his tummy and turing him on his side, as that’s how he likes to sleep, but often it does nothing and he continues to cry. By this stage I try pick him up and putting him back to sleep. I will do this until he is sleepy then put him down in his bed to which he usally cries as soon as his head hits the mattress. At this stage I usually feed him to sleep (breast feed) and then he is usually out to it for only another 2 hours before waking again. This is when I usually give in and bring him into bed with me. I know it is bad!! He still makes noise from this time and when he wakes (usually 12.30-1am to 6.30-7am when we rise) but I find it easy to try put his dummy in and calm him when he’s laying beside me.
    Can I ask for your thoughts? Do you think the dummy and co sleeping are the issue?? He has just got two teeth through in the last fortnight so I really don’t know if that is the issue considering we’ve been having this issue since he was 4 months old.
    Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciate…. we all need some sleep!

    • Yes. I think the pacifier is an issue. And feeding to sleep. And possibly cosleeping. My advice? Read these articles thoroughly, she explains why the things you’re talking about can create issues. And if you’re willing, try sleep training. We sleep trained via the Ferber method at 4 months. We lost the paci and swaddling all at once. And you know what? She was fine. She slept longer and fell asleep on her own. Prior to that, I could’ve written your post. It’s a game changer.

  45. Hello, my baby girl is 9 months old and will only fall asleep nursing while laying down on my bed . If I try and get up once she is a sleep she will wake up. I have no clue where to start with trying to get her to sleep on her own:( Help! She has never once slept in her crib .

  46. Great article! My wife and I wish we would have found this earlier. Our son is just over 7 months old and this ALL sounds way too familiar. We’ve tried “crying it out” and after nearly 2 hours on multiple occasions, we gave in to the same old routine. I guess it’s time to try it yet again.
    Rich White recently posted..Simple Web Design & SEO BasicsMy Profile

  47. I am having sleep issues with my 10 month old. We have been doing the Ferber method for almost a month and she goes down to sleep around 7pm relatively well (though its still all over the place–sometimes she falls asleep right away, other times she cries for 40 mins.). She sleeps through the night until sometime between 4 and 5:30. At this time we feed her and put her back down but she doesn’t always go back to sleep. If I let her fall asleep on me after the bottle rather than putting her down, I could be successful at getting her back to sleep. However, would that hurt the progress we’ve made getting her down at night?

    Also, we are having issues with naps. Ferber method is no longer working for naps. She just cries for the 45 mins until nap time is over (Ferber says to wait 30 mins and then end the nap time, but I wait 45 mins). I think she knows that I will take her out of the crib. Again, if I feed her a bottle and let her fall asleep in my arms, I could successfully get her to sleep alot of the time. But I am trying to be consistent about getting to fall asleep on her own for both naps and her big night sleep. Sometimes she only gets one nap per day. And often its a cat nap. I’ve tried moving nap times which doesn’t seem to help. I don’t know what to do. Please help!!!

  48. Thanks for this article; so well written and clear. My 7 months has been self settling for bed and naps for over a month and used to wake for just one feed during the night. Recently, she has started to wake 3 times a night for feeds – every 3 hours. It’s been warm, but I’m not convinced she needs it as her nappy leaked for the first time ever this morning at 5 it was so full! For some reason, she’s also started fighting her morning nap quite a bit of the time. She recently transitioned to 2 naps, but this was always the sure one! I’d be really grateful for some advice as we’ve been trying to get her down for 1.5hours now and the night waking is draining me. Thanks.

  49. Hi, I’ve been reading things from your website since my daughter was 3 months old. I used the swing and the white noise and it worked wonders. However my daughter is 8 months and I cannot get her to fall asleep on her own to save my life. I’ve tried baths, bottles, rocking her until she’s drowsy and dropping her off so she knows where she is and it doesn’t matter. As soon as she realizes I’m not holding her, she cries. Sometimes she’ll even cry while being held because I’m not rocking her. It’s a fight every single time it comes down to her going to sleep. What else can I do? I also do not slow her to stay awake too long. Idk. I’m out of ideas.

  50. Hi, I really like all your articles and tips. Here is the problem I am facing with my 9 month old who doesn’t want to sleep b/c she is too excited to play and sit up and pull herself. So when we leave her in her crib drowsy to fall asleep on her own, she doesn’t cry, she plays and talks to herself and tries to stand up and sometimes this goes on for 2 hours and at the end she ends up without a nap. So to actually make sure she is sleeping we rock her and she does great during the day – two naps for about 1-1.5 hours. However at night is a nightmare – she wakes up every hour. Again if I leave her she might cry for a few minutes and then starts to play so she would go in between playing and crying but I feel like she won’t ever fall asleep on her own. I really have no idea what to do with her anymore. And I need some sleep too…


  1. What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night - Part 2 | Troublesome Tots
  2. What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night Part 3 - Night Weaning
  3. The Thing About Sleep Regressions - Troublesome Tots
  4. I am the Official CIO Spokesperson. Apparently. - Troublesome Tots
  5. What’s blogging got to do with it? | What Mama Didn't Tell Me
  6. Teaching Our Baby To Fall Asleep Part 1

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge