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  • Post last modified:January 6, 2021

Mom’s Question:

7-month-old baby won't sleep without mePin

I need help because my 7-month-old baby won’t sleep without me and I am exhausted!

What happens is that my baby will fall asleep only when I’m holding him or nursing him. To make matters worse, he wakes up as soon as I lay him down unless I lie down with him and nurse him.

He naps at 10 am and 2 pm and he goes to bed at 9 pm TO 8 AM but wakes several times at night to nurse for a few minutes.

The problem is I have to be with him the WHOLE time and he wakes up as soon as lying him down and will not go back to sleep.

HELP PLEASE! He has no interest in a pacifier or bottle. All I have going right now is the schedule.


Baby Helpline:

Tips When Baby Won’t Sleep Alone

What a cute baby and lovely family photo! Your son looks so happy, it does look like, at least, he is getting enough sleep! :-)

At his age, 7 months old, babies often experience separation anxiety. They are beginning to realize that they are a separate being from their mother and that makes them very uncertain and scared. Sleep problems are really common at around this age (7-11 months or so).

I don’t know if your baby has done this (need to be close to you and feed frequently) from the start or if it is a new phase. If it is new, you could try to just ride it out and he is likely to get back to more normal behaviors in a while.

But if it is too exhausting or frustrating for you, of course, you can try to change his behavior. I am no fan of the “cry-it-out” method at all, and especially not during those sensitive months (7-11 months or so). Your baby cries for you for a reason.

But one thing that has been effective, at least with my children are stroller walks. You mention that your routines work well with your son; that’s great. Get him dressed and out in the stroller some 15 minutes before his nap time. Take a brisk walk – great exercise for you too. Then when he’s been asleep for at least 20 minutes, you can go back in. Don’t lift him up! Either place his stroller on the porch or balcony if you can (if it is cold outside) or open up his clothes enough to make him comfortable.

Grab a coffee and a nice book – and stay close to the stroller.

Now, here comes the key to improve his sleep pattern: Immediately when he starts to make noise, start rolling the stroller back and forth quite firmly, to help him get back to sleep. Continue this exercise each time he starts to wake up until he really wakes up or you think it is time for him to wake up.

This method usually helps even the most reluctant babies to go to sleep without mommy and without nursing.

Once it works in the daytime, you can use it for bedtime at night too. Just don’t let him sleep in the stroller the whole night since he is old enough to fall out. But if he goes to bed before you and you can keep an eye and ear on the stroller, you might be able to get rid of at least the first feeding this way.

Hope this helps! You can find more sleep tips in our baby sleep section here.

Warm wishes,

More Babies That Won’t Sleep Through The Night

Find answers and comments below.

Comments for “7-Month-Old Baby Won’t Sleep Without Me”

Feb 10, 20187-month-old Baby not sleeping
by: Kate Ng (New Zealand)

Hi There,
I am wondering if this is a new behavior or if he has always been like this? If he has always been doing this then the answer is that he needs to be taught ‘how to go to sleep in his own bed. It is a job that we as parents need to teach children…not something that they figure out on their own and continuing to pacify him too much is just making the problem worse. I have four children of my own and have helped many parents in your situation…This is what I recommend you do.
He definitely needs to sleep 2x per day…which you’re doing, great! and ideally for 1.5 hours each. When it is sleep time, it’s best you sleep him in the same place each time, ie his crib. Read him a book, little cuddle, talk to him then say it is sleep time off to sleep now. Put him in and say ‘good sleep’ and walk out, leaving the door slightly open. If he is crying you can go back in every 2-3 minutes just to reassure him that you are here and that you are with him. settle him for 1 minute then put him back in and walk out. By doing this you are teaching him that he is ok and that your still there to meet his needs, but that he is also safe and that he can trust your decisions that you know what is best for him. This may take a couple of days to work through and he will eventually ‘learn’ how to sleep in his crib rather than being reliant on you – (which doesn’t really give him a good sleep.

Don’t give up…parenting is about teaching and loving and enjoying each other’s company when it is playtime!!!

Kate Ng
New Zealand

Feb 11, 2018It will all turn out well!
by: Bea

Hi Sharlott,
He needs to learn to sleep in his own bed by ensuring him, that he is safe there and you’re there for him if he needs you. Good sleep is important for him and to rest and do other things at the end of they are important for you also! (that’s also his interest).

Around 2-3 months I tied my nightgown to her bed (making sure that it’s long enough to hold and smell but not long enough to get it around her neck) she really liked it. Even I was not there she could have “mummy’s smell” she really liked it. She slept in her own bed but in our room until 19 months. When she woke up at night I got up, put her back, or took her walked a few steps did not talk much just saying eg. was OK, didn’t turn on the light just held her tight. Later I didn’t need to take her out of bed every time only saying shh-shh would smooth her or just when I coughed or moved our blanket (the sounds saying that we are close by). We put her into her own room at 19months w/o the slightest problem (although everyone suggested that there will be because she was with us for so long.) She enjoys it, but I still do the same thing. I think through sleeping “together” helped her to learn, that nights are also OK and it is to sleep well not to be alone. If she wakes I go to see her – usually just put her blanket back give her a kiss and she is OK).

What I also did at the age of your baby, I told her that it is OK to sleep and we are there for her. I left the door open and did the evening domestic things(selecting laundry etc.) so she heard I was there or sang the song she knew. Don’t take me wrong – now it all seems nice and easy BUT I also had evenings… when I was tired and thinking whether she will ever like falling asleep on her own. And now SHE DOES – yours will also! Even now, we spend a long time reading stories and “talking” about our day before going to sleep. Then I lay next to her a bit(there were times I felt frustrated because I wanted to relax just a bit on my own – and that was the time to settle her the most difficultly), now I know it is nice to spend a little time together before sleeping. For her it is easier, for me it is also relaxing.

I think breastfeeding is a beautiful thing you do for your child for his benefit. Because of the separation crises, these months are a bit more difficult but they are nice too.

Just go smoothly, but don’t have bad conscious just because you teach your child sleeping alone in a gentle way. I DON’t suggest you leave him crying for long, and uncontrolled but a little cry did not hurt anyone. It’s a normal way to communicate at this age. If you know that you’re doing sg for HIS benefit and it is a good thing for the whole family, it will be easier.

All the best and I keep fingers crossed!
You posted a really lovely photo!

Feb 14, 2018A BIG work in progress
by: Sharlott
Thank you so much for your comments. I’m afraid the behavior is learned and has been going on for quite some time. Much of it stemming from desperation for a few minutes’ sleep in the early days. I must admit I’m a bit overwhelmed by the daunting task before me, but I know it will be best for both of us. As clearly I’m clueless and haven’t much help with my baby, I am certainly appreciative of the advice you experienced mothers have given me. I have never been comfortable with just letting him cry and scream and work it out on his own and that is the only other thing people have told me. Well, here I go.

Feb 14, 20187-month-old baby – sleeping
by: kate Ng
Hi Sharlott,

Good on you…it sounds like your ready to take the step. Often when we get to that stage of just ‘having enough’ we know we need to do something about it. That’s usually when it’s more successful too.

Try not to look at it as a big task ahead of you. Just take each day as it comes, or even each feed cycle as it comes, that will help you get through.

Make sure you are following the pattern of sleep, feed, play then sleep, it helps develop a really good routine.
he should be doing this;
7 am – wake and feed
9am – 11am (1.5 – 2hours ) sleep time.
11 am – wake and feed / lunch after
1pm – 3pm (1.5 – 2hours) sleep time
3pm – wake and feed
4.30pm – half feed / dinner time/ then bath
6.30pm – rest of milk feed
7 pm feed and sleep
10pm – sleepy feed

Basically up for 2 hours then down for two hours. I have had a lot of success with this routine and helped a lot of parents..hope it helps you.

Kind Regards
Kate Ng
New Zealand

Aug 24, 2018You aren’t the only one
by: Rosie
my 11-month-old is exactly the same. It’s my fault because I trained her to be this way, and I do love being close to her while she sleeps but it can be rather confining at times. Nights don’t bother me, it’s just the 2-hour naps where I am pinned while she sleeps on me that are frustrating.
I guess we all learn lessons as we go.

Aug 25, 2018Still at it.
by: Sharlott

I’m sorry to hear that. Of course, I know how you feel. I really have tried, but do not have the mother’s touch for helping baby with good sleep habits. But it wasn’t for a lack of good advice. Anywhoo, He is almost 14 months now. I think I will just let him cry because I am very tired. Good luck to you.

Aug 28, 2018HI
by: Jennifer

Hello! My daughter was born a little early (37 weeks and 1 day) and was really tiny (5 pounds 5 ounces) so in the beginning, she was with my husband and me all of the time. We co-slept with her in our bed for 3 months and then co-slept with her in our room (in her bassinet) for about 3 more months. Finally, around 6.5 months old, we moved her to her crib. (I am still breastfeeding as well…So, I totally understand pulling her into bed with you for nighttime feedings!) Around 7 months, she started breaking free of her swaddle blanket so that was a new learning experience for all of us. Add on top of that teething, learning to crawl/pull up, and other new developmental skills (shaking head no, waving, and clapping), and you can only imagine that naps and nighttime can be difficult.
Honestly, I don’t want to let her do the cry-it-out method b/c I have my own issues to work through regarding it (I don’t want her to feel abandoned) and I don’t like hearing her cry (she starts screaming). So, I nurse her and rock her before I lay her down. Something we found that works though is the pajamas that have feet in them…I think it helps keep her warm.

Also, laying her on her tummy b/c that is how she used to fall asleep on me. (Rosie, I know how you feel about naptime and her falling asleep on you. I did a lot of kangaroo care with my baby for the fourth trimester.)

I am more of an attachment style parent so I respond to all of my baby’s cries but I’ve learned to not respond right away. Sometimes, she is just whimpering and will put herself back to sleep but if she cries for longer than 5 minutes, I go in and pick her up to calm her down. Then we go through the routine again and she’ll usually fall asleep until her next feeding. It’s hard sometimes, but keep it up; you’re doing a great job, Mommy!

Oct 11, 2018In the same boat

by: Amelia

My 9-month-old is the same. It started out with him being a poor sleeper and me thinking of diff ways to get him to sleep. I’ve tried the stroller method to no avail. I am extremely reluctant to let him cry it out. Moreover, once I pick him up and cuddle him, he falls asleep right away without me doing much. Is there nothing else I can do but let him cry? I’ve tried it a couple of times and he will go for more than an hour.

Oct 12, 2018Something to try
by: Rosie

Here is a technique I used with my daughter and it worked:
get in the crib (or wherever the baby naps) and lay down with your baby laying tummy to tummy. My daughter nurses this way so she falls asleep pretty quick. I stay with her for 15 mins, but during that time I slowly inch away till no part of me is touching her. I climb out and put a fleecy type blanket where my body was.
She stays down for about an hour on most days! I have a night vision camera in the nursery so I watch her closely and when she wakes, I rush in and comfort her.
Hope this helps!

Oct 12, 2018Success in sleeping!
by: Sharlott

Ok. So a major update on Marley sleeping through the night. He is now 15 months old. That’s a long time to be sleep-deprived. A few months ago I bought a sleep trainer ( electronic device) from babies r us. I paid $24 for it and thought I’d wasted my money. It sat in the closet until 2 weeks ago when out of desperation we went on to give it a try. In a perfect world, my baby never would have had to cry to learn how to sleep. I want to tell you how it went for us in case it might something you ever want to try it.
Basically. The device was very similar to the advice that moms gave on this page. But. They couldn’t be with me through the process at the moment. The instructions were to wait until the baby is VERY sleepy but still awake. Give snuggles and kisses and off to bed ( in the crib). My baby was not happy but too sleepy to put up a full-fledged fight. What reassured me was that the device alerts you to give baby reassurance at brief intervals so you are supporting and reassuring your baby in this difficult process and not just leaving totally alone. This may seem very basic to some moms. But I never would have been able to help my baby sleep better without this handheld approach. In the end, the instructions say you will get results in ten days or so. For us. It took about an hour on night one and 30 minutes on night two. And then he started sleeping all night! Halleluia! He sleeps from 8:30 pm to 6:30 am. Thanks for everyone’s support. I hope this is good for someone. Now for the naps…;). To be continued.

Oct 18, 2018Thank You!
by: Paula (Baby Help Line)
Thank you so much, Sharlott, for your update! I am so happy for you that your son is sleeping better now – it does make a huge difference :-)

It will be exciting to hear what you do to make the naps work better too.

Warm wishes,


Oct 30, 20187 Month Old Baby won’t Sleep Without Me
by: sleeplessbaby9

You can also try Chamomile Tea’s I know it helped me when my son was doing the same to me. it is also a good way to relax your baby( it makes them relaxed it also helps with colics)yourself too… at least it worked for me… I hope this works for you and baby and that both of you sleep calmly.

Nov 01, 2018…..
by: Anonymous
I breastfed till my baby was 8 months old and he did the same thing all you have to do is when he wakes up just pat him back to sleep if that does not work let him cry I know it’s hard but I had to do it he will cry his self back to sleep and you need to when you lay him down and he wakes up if you don’t lay with him just let him cry in his crib it will take a while before he gets used to it but he will go back to sleep he will not take a paci because he is using you as one I’m only 17 I had my baby at 15 it was hard but I know if I could do it you can too

Nov 01, 2018Thanks
by: Sharlott

Nice comment and you’re right. Fortunately, I did finally get success and he had to cry. But I did find a method that gave him support through the process. But ultimately, he cried and now he’s an excellent sleeper. Naps are going well too. He’s 16 months now and I’m finally the boss:)

Jan 16, 2019helppppp
by: Rachel

Hey guys.. it’s quite a relief that I am not the only one with this issue, my little one in 7 months and from day one he has never slept through the night, at the beginning he was nursing every 2 hours for feeds but as he got older I think it became more of a habit than the need to feed, to the extent that we co-sleep to make it easier…
He will still wake up every two hours and suckle for a few minutes then go back sleep, I have tried the cry out method but if I don’t respond he gets louder and that really irritates others in the house as they have early work. so I have no choice but to give in and let him suckle to sleep, iv tried pacifiers, routines, singing patting, everything and I am really stuck I do not understand what I can do next.. help please x

Jan 20, 2019Wish you the best
by: Sharlott
Read the comment above titled “success in sleeping”. It’s the only thing that worked for me. And good luck! I think it was called Dr. Mom sleep trainer.

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