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6-Month-Old Nursing to Sleep And Refuses The Crib

Help! I am a first time mom and my husband works away from home.

I started bringing my baby to bed with me at night when he was 3 months old, because he was getting up every two hours for feeding and I found that co-sleeping was the only way I could make it through the day with him. Now he is 6 months old and still only falls asleep when he is nursing, never on his own. He also won’t sleep in his crib.

What do I do to get him to sleep longer at night and also in his crib without nursing him? I can’t handle letting him cry himself to sleep; are there any other suggestions of ways to deal with these issues?

Baby Help Line:
I think you did completely right to bring your baby to your bed at 3 months! This way you both probably got more and better sleep and nothing is really more important when you have a newborn baby.

Now, if you want to help him learn how to fall asleep without nursing, here are a few things you can do:

  • First of all, make sure that your baby eats enough during the day. 6 months is a growth spurt and many babies sleep really bad at this age. So fill him up and give his sleep training a month before you evaluate it.
  • Use the stroller. When your baby is starting to become tired, put him in his stroller and rock him until he is almost asleep. Slowly stop and let him fall asleep. If he starts crying or whining, start rolling the stroller again until he is calm. And so on. This is a way to teach you baby to fall asleep without you. Once he is a sleep, put him in his crib.
  • Does he use a pacifier? If not, consider giving one to him. For many babies this really facilitates the transition away from nursing to sleep. You’ll find tips on how to help your baby accept a pacifier here.
  • Does he accept the bottle? For some babies, it is very efficient to simply offer them water in a bottle instead of the breast when they wake up at night. Faster than you could ever guess, they start sleeping better when there is no milk to wake up for. For bottle-feeding tips, click here. Obviously, if your baby wakes up because he is hungry, this will not work at all!
  • Let your baby sleep with dad. This might be hard in your case, as your husband works away from home. But if he is ever home for a long weekend, have your baby sleep with him instead of you. Make it your husband’s job to soothe your baby by rocking him, giving him the pacifier patting him or whatever works. I’ve tried this and I know several other moms too that have been very surprised with how fast their baby has learned to fall asleep without the breast.

    You don’t even have to stop nursing him completely at night. When we did this with our daughter, we decided that my husband would try for 5 minutes, then she would be allowed to nurse. Within three days our daughter went from waking up every hour to twice a night. One month later she slept through the night.

  • For tips on how to help you baby sleep better in her crib, check out some crib sleeping tips here.

Good luck, and please come back and tell us about your progress or if you need more help.

Paula

Find comments below.

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Comments for “6-Month-Old Nursing to Sleep And Refuses The Crib”

Jan 20, 2013

Please help

by: Marianna


Hi,
My little girl is 7 months old and doesn’t sleep at night. First of all she doesn’t know how to sleep on her own. I rock, sing, and nurse her so that she can fall asleep. When I put her in her crib she wakes up and tries to stand up. I can’t leave her there because she hits her head or nose. She never, ever falls asleep in her crib. When I finally get her to sleep, she wakes up every 2 hours to nurse. I don’t know what to do. Please give me some advise.


Mar 28, 2013

Baby 7 months cry before sleep
by: Zakia


My baby is 7 months , when he was 5 months and half, i started the bed time routine for him, it was difficult for me the first week , i thought he will cry for few weeks then he will stop ,but now he is 7 months he still cry 10 minutes before sleep (i never went to him i don’t wont to break what i started ??)then he will wake up after one hour crying for 10 minutes , some times at around 3am for 10 minutes, i am really worried about him , did he get use to sleep with cry? and also he is crying when we go out for walk or shopping, when he is feeling get sleep !!!

please I need advise .


May 17, 2013

Cry-it-out method doesn’t always work
by: Paula (Baby Help Line)


Hi Zakia,

I can understand very well that you want your little one to sleep. However, what you are experiencing is quite common. The so called “cry-it-out method” isn’t working for all babies. Personally, I am not very fond of it. For some babies it actually makes their sleep worse, and in any case, crying is their way of communicating with us, so what is it we teach them when not responding to their efforts to communicate?

Babies – and children – do not generally sleep through the night. The get hungry, scared, warm, cold, they have nightmares and so on.

I know it is exhausting – having a baby truly is exhausting – but responing to our babies’ needs and help them grow up feeling loved and secure is the most important job we have!

There are other ways you can improve your baby’s sleep. Start with reading these tips here.

Also take a moment to browse through our Baby Sleep Q&A Section. There are a lot of tips floating around there.

Finally, you can read the following tips on how to stop nursing baby to sleep in more gentle ways than the cry-it-out method.

Warm wishes,

Paula


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