Let’s start out by setting the scene. I’ll bet it will be familiar to you. (It was to me for nearly four months!)
It’s 7:30 PM. You give Baby a bath, turn down the nursery room light, perhaps put on a gentle white noise machine for babies, and start rocking your little one in his favorite chair.
He falls asleep –– ah, bliss! –– so of course, you put him down in his crib without waking him.
Oops…an hour later, he’s screaming.
If all this rings a bell, you’re not the only mama who has told me her baby cries as soon as put down. But is there anything you can do?
What’s Wrong With Rocking a Baby to Sleep?
Nothing, if it’s occasional, or if your baby is a newborn. Holding your baby and rocking her is one of the things parents look forward to. There’s nothing like a sleepy, cuddly baby –– the feeling is unbeatable!
And after all, you’re bonding with Baby. You are becoming a family and learning to trust and love one another.
However, when Baby cries as soon as she’s put down, now you have a problem.
How Not to Sleep Train Your Baby
Here’s what most parents do. (So did I, before I did my research.)
Your infant is getting sleepy. You recognize this and don’t want to miss the moment. So you pick him up and try to rock him to full sleep.
Besides rocking, you currently be trying:
- Breastfeeding, even if your baby isn’t hungry.
- Giving your little one a cuddly favorite toy.
- Whispering/singing/using a “sleepy” voice.
- Walking around the room holding him.
But as well-intentioned as this is, I’m here to tell you that it’s all wrong.
The actions themselves aren’t wrong. Every baby wants and needs cuddling. And you need it too. It’s one way you express your love for this tiny being in your care.
But here’s what happens when your baby does finally cork off, and you put him down sound asleep…
Baby Not Getting Enough Sleep (and Neither are You)?
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The Problem: She’s Waking Up in an Unexpected Place
Imagine you fell asleep in your living room, perhaps in your significant other’s arms. Soft music is playing. Your loved one is speaking softly to you.
BAM. Your eyes open, and suddenly you’re in the basement.
What would you do? Do you think you might cry out? Feel a moment of sheer terror, or at least confusion, even though you’ve been in the basement before? Well, that’s your baby’s reaction, too.
Unfortunately, if you put your baby down after he’s sound asleep, you’re teaching him to be afraid. Now, I know you’re doing your best. (We all do and we should support one another.)
But it’s a fact that if your baby is waking up in a different place than where she fell asleep, she’s learning to anticipate a fearful waking at some point.
And what does that translate to? You guessed it. Your baby cries as soon as they’re put down.
Okay. So What’s the Solution?
I know this is frustrating because I’ve been there.
You’re already doing so much right. What you and so many others may be missing is a great program that teaches you independent sleep for babies.
The right child sleep training is a game-changer. Right now, if your baby cries as soon as they’re put down, they’ve learned to be afraid of you leaving. They’re afraid of falling asleep in your arms and waking up somewhere else.
Sleep training changes all that and makes you both more confident. That translates to more uninterrupted sleep for the whole household.
How Baby Sleep Training Changes Everything
When you put your baby down drowsy but not asleep, she will wake up in the same place she fell asleep. This will happen a few times a night, just like it does with you. It’s a normal part of the sleep cycle.
But just like you probably don’t remember it, neither will your baby, if she feels safe and secure.
And she learns this security by self-soothing and by falling asleep in her crib without you holding her.
If you’ve been struggling with your baby crying when he’s put down to sleep, the right sleep training changes everything. You’re no longer stressed at night or nap times, and neither is Baby. You don’t have to sleep with one eye open because it feels so jarring to be awoken.
“But I Like Holding My Baby Until They’re Asleep.”
I know. Who wouldn’t? It’s a lovely feeling.
Unfortunately, even if you feel you have plenty of time for now to cuddle with your little one, you might experience a time when you simply can’t rock your baby to sleep.
What if there’s an emergency? What if your boss needs you to come back to work sooner than you’d planned, and you’ll be tired at Baby’s bedtime? Or what if you’re sick one night and you simply can’t get the energy to hold your baby for 20-30 minutes before they fall asleep?
Just as important is that a correct sleep cycle is critical to your baby’s development. If that’s constantly interrupted, you’ll both be worse off for it.
Need Help? Call an Expert!
When I hear about a family whose baby cries as soon as they’re put down, I remember why it is that I do what I do.
As a certified baby and toddler sleep consultant, infant sleep training is my specialty. I love what I do because it helps both the baby and the entire family.
Baby Won’t Sleep?
Once your baby is properly, and gently, sleep-trained with tested and proven methods, you’ll see a difference in your household stress. Once baby no longer cries as soon as she’s put down, you’ll all feel better!