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hEY, I'M aLEXA!
Baby Won’t Sleep Unless Being Held? Here’s What to do.
Today we are going to talk about a request I get a lot. It usually goes something like this. “I hear all the time to put my baby down in their sleep space drowsy but awake, but how the heck do I do that when my baby cries every time I set him down unless he is fully asleep?!”
I get it. I hear ya. I was one of those mamas asking that same question 3.5 years ago! It is helpful to start putting babies down not all the way asleep to start getting them used to the feeling of putting themselves to sleep. But with that being said, I just want to say….if you WANT to hold your baby to sleep…DO IT!! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I mean come on….look at that squishy sleepy face!!
But there are just some moments when we have to be able to set our babies down to sleep, because we have things to do, or other children to tend to, or just need a break!! And that’s perfectly fine too. Here’s some of my top tips on getting baby to sleep without being held:
#1 First and foremost, make sure there are no underlying medical issues, like reflux, going on with your baby.
Sometimes if a baby has an issue such as reflux going on, they won’t sleep on their back alone no matter what!
#2 Make sure baby is swaddled (or in a sleep sack or Zipadee-Zip if they over four months and/or are rolling).
If baby is used to being held while sleeping or being put to sleep, it can be alarming at first for them. Being hugged tightly by a swaddle helps them feel more held, and less unsettled.
#3 Make sure their environment is sleep inducing.
Dark, with a sound machine, and a cool temp (usually between 68-72 degrees F is the perfect temp for sleep!)
#4 Keep the pre-nap or pre-bedtime routine the same, so that they know that sleep is coming.
The routine can be as simple as changing their diaper and swaddling them; it just helps get them ready for sleep.
#5 Put something by baby that smells like you for comfort.
Usually I recommend sleeping with their sheets or swaddle for a night, so that when you put their bassinet/crib sheet or swaddle on it smells like you and can bring some familiarity and comfort.
#6 Don’t wait to put baby down until they are overly tired.
If baby is already cranky and screaming, for example, they are not likely to go to sleep without some assistance…try again next nap 😉
#7 Soothe baby without picking them up.
To help them get used to sleeping without being held, stay in the room by them. Shush them, pay them, or place your palm on their chest and wiggle back and forth gently but rapidly. This motion feels like rocking, and can help them get to sleep.
#8 Give yourself (and your baby) a little bit of grace.
This can take some practice, but hang in there, mama. Your baby will get the hang of it, and so will you!! And if you need some extra help, check out my free ebook on how to get baby to sleep better for naps and at night, or book a call with me to find out more about my one on one help, customized to you and your baby!
all sleep packages include a customized sleep plan made specifically for your child, and one on one guidance from me. each package comes with a different level of support options to fit every parenting style and budget.
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