A 6-month-old baby that refuses both the crib and falling asleep without nursing can make any mom exhausted. Not to say it is uncommon  – on the contrary, this is a very common situation. The mom in this Q&A wants to teach her baby to accept the crib and go to sleep without breastfeeding. But she does not want to use a cry-it-out method. 

What to do? Here are some ideas!

6-month-old refuses crib and nurses to sleepPin


Mom’s Question:

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 three 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 six 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 for ways to deal with these issues?

How to Help 6-Month-Old Baby Accept the Crib and Fall Asleep on Their Own

I totally understand that you want to try to make your 6-month-old accept the crib and fall asleep without nursing. If you are often the only one to put your baby to sleep, it sure would free up time if your baby starts falling asleep in the crib instead of in your arms. 

Remember, though, that even if it feels like forever, it is very common for babies at this age to breastfeed to sleep, so you are not doing anything wrong at all. 

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. Six months is a growth spurt, and many babies sleep really badly at this age. So, fill him up and realize that teaching him to fall asleep without nursing will likely take some time. Give it 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 your baby to fall asleep without you. Once he is asleep, 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 fall asleep 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, let him take care of the nights 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 your 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.


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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Zakia

    My baby is seven months. when he was five months and a half, I started the bedtime routine for him, it was difficult for me the first week, I thought he will cry for a few weeks then he will stop, but now he is 7 months he still cries 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 3 am for 10 minutes, I am really worried about him, did he get used to sleeping with cry? and also he is crying when we go out for walks or shopping when he is feeling get sleep !!!please, I need advice.

    1. Paula @ easybabylife

      Hi Zakia, I 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. They get hungry, scared, warm, cold; they have nightmares, and so on.

      I know it is exhausting – having a baby truly is exhausting – but responding to our babies’ needs and helping 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 by reading these tips and Q&As here.

      You can also read the following tips on how to stop nursing your baby to sleep in more gentle ways than the cry-it-out method.

      Warm wishes,


  2. Marianna

    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 advice.