Putting a Baby to Sleep - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-17-2011, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I am seeking any advice on putting my almost 1 year old to sleep. He has been co-sleeping with us mostly although he did have a crib in our bedroom where he would be layed down in the beginning of the night for safety reasons.


In the past week I have moved him to a low bed.


He has always cried and screamed before sleeping. If he nurses to sleep then no problem but if he does not then he arches his back, screams, cries, hits, pulls your hair. Because of this behavior we have generally rocked him to sleep.


In this past week I will feed him then lay him on his bed. He starts screaming. This uncontrollable sobbing can continue for up to half and hour. If crawls up and over me and I try to hold him but then he gets even more upset and screams more. I really do not know what to do.


He does not have a comforter, or dummy and never took an interest in anything even his blanket.


Any ideas?


I did read that some people put the baby down then go out of the room (given that it is of course baby proofed) but if I were to do that he would scream for sure.


How do i get him to self sooth?


Many thanks, from a tired new Montessori mum in training.

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#2 of 9 Old 10-17-2011, 06:44 PM
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Yikes, I almost dare not to post. There are two camps - AP (attachment parenting, which I love the concept - and truth be told, my daughter was in a crib from the day she came home until my ex left the house when she was 2 1/2 and now it's about 50/50 with her in her own bed or with me, probably more for me than her *blush*) - she's was in her bed last night, but when she felt sick, she came to sleep with me and that was fine - by age 4-5, I suspect that my very independent daughter will want her bed.


That being said, I support the Ferber approach (which my ex and his mother advocated and I do not regret, even though my little one had a "stop breathing" alert that had me rushing to her room at least once a night).  I do believe that a secure child will go to sleep,  It's not about cry to sleep as much as:  now it is time to sleep and this is your responsibility.


Now for your situation - and please, if none of this fits, or offends, please disregard.


I fundamentally like the Ferber approach (please read it with an open mind) - it's not so much about cry til they fall asleep as much as:  I love you, you are secure and safe, I am leaving the room, you are responsible to go to sleep.  If you continue to cry, I will come, comfort you momentarily, but I will leave again - you are responsible for going to sleep.  In some way, I do see this as a Montessori approach in which the child, at birth, is given one responsibility - to feel loved and to go to sleep.


You are fed

You are dry

You are loved

You have your physical needs met

Now you must sleep


One of the fundamental concepts of this approach is  that the child goes to bed AWAKE and is AWARE that he/she is going to sleep on his/her ACCORD..  If the child is asleep when you "sneak away" - you don't get the benefit of the child feeling secure with his/her own presence to go to sleep.


Hope this helps and does not offend (trust me, my sick daughter is up in my own bed tonight, but truth be told, the day she says, "Mommy go away, I want my bed" will be a sign of victory (of course with nightlight and me reading a book).


Please, follow your heart, and if you are leaving your child to go to sleep, be honest with the child.  Whether they be in your room, or if you need to go back for some soft words and a back rub - do it!  Again, this may be a very divergent approach, but I want my child to feel safe in her own presence more than I want her to feel safe in mine.

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#3 of 9 Old 10-18-2011, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your reply. It is such a heartbreaking episode each night i feel like I am doing something wrong. I understand what you are saying about putting him to sleep while he is awake, thank you for taking the time to reply.


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#4 of 9 Old 10-18-2011, 03:45 PM
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I found an article that might be helpful - the main point being that child falls asleep under the same conditions that will be present during times of normal waking during the night.  It's definitely not "cry it out", but promoting environment where the child can feel secure in his/her ability to go to sleep.  It might take 20 visits of 2 minutes over the course of a few hours for days or even weeks to briefly reassure child that he/she is safe and is expected to fall asleep.






No more tears
Ferber believes that a child should fall asleep in the same conditions that will be present when he wakes naturally during the night, whether it is in his own room, in a room with a sibling, or sharing a bed with a parent. If he awakes and finds the conditions changed—perhaps he's been moved from his mother's arms into his crib—he may cry until they're reinstated.




There are lots of threads and sites on this topic, sorry there haven't been many other responses - I think the key is that the child feel secure in himself/herself when falling asleep, so that if waking at night, the child can realize that he/she is capable of going back to sleep independently.  Half an hour of screaming would be heartbreaking.


Some things I read included putting the child to bed later therefore being more tired, and prone to "naturally falling asleep", but not so late that it's disruptive.  Other things - maybe a radio with the sound of calm voices or music for background noise.  I used to plop my little one in her sleeper near the TV, even if I wasn't watching it so she was used to noise and less apt to be disrupted by a small noise at night.  We live near a fire department, so at times sirens go off at night and I didn't want to disrupt her sleep cycles.


Good luck - I'm sorry can't be of more help - maybe some others can post or there might be other threads on this topic in other forums.

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#5 of 9 Old 10-18-2011, 08:40 PM
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You mentioned that he falls asleep without any problems when you feed him to sleep. Are you able to do that each night? One is still very young. I see no problem with feeding to sleep if you're able to. He is not yet old enough to understand that you will come back or that you are still near by even if he can't see you. I don't think it is reasonable to expect a one year old to just go to sleep by themselves (some do and that's great but it shouldn't be a general expectation IMO).


You might get more responses if you post in the nighttime parenting forum. There are plenty of people here who feed their toddlers to sleep and, if that's not possible for you to do every night then I'm sure there will be others with ideas for gentle alternatives.


All the best. Bedtime can be the hardest time of the day.

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

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#6 of 9 Old 10-24-2011, 07:03 AM
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Not sure why this is in the Montessori forum. I'm moving it to the Family Bed and Nighttime Parenting.

The Ferber method is a harsh form of sleep training. It may "work" but it is not gentle, attachment parenting approach to sleep. These threads may be of interest:



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#7 of 9 Old 10-24-2011, 10:02 PM
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It is not in the Montessori spirit to leave your child alone and let him cry to sleep! That may be the American perspective of some Montessori authors and teachers, but here is what Maria Montessori wrote in her book, The Child in the Family, p. 27-28:


Yes, children love adults deeply.  When the child goes to bed he must do so in the company of someone he loves.  But the person he loves thinks: “This nonsense must stop.  We’ll spoil him if we stay close to him before he goes to sleep.”  Or: “If the baby wants to come to the table with us, and cries if we do not let him, then we must pretend we’re not going to eat!”  But the child only wants to be present when his loved ones eat, even though he may only be a toddler whose diet is still fairly restricted.  He will stop crying if he is brought to the table.  If he does cry at table, it is because nobody pays any attention to him.  He wants to be part of the group.


Who else weeps out of the intense desire to be with us while we eat?  And how sadly we will say someday, “Nobody cries now to have me near him while he falls asleep.  Everybody thinks of himself and falls asleep remembering what happened during the day, but nobody thinks of me.”  Only a child remembers and says every night, “Don’t leave me; stay with me!” and the adult answers, “I can’t; I have so much to do, and anyway, what kind of nonsense is this?” and thinks that the child must be corrected or he will make everyone a slave of his love!



Just because your child's physical needs are met does not mean he or she doesn't need you. Emotional needs matter and should be respected!

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#8 of 9 Old 10-25-2011, 05:25 AM
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Just a question: why did you prefer to rock him rather than nurse him to sleep?

first-time mama to a babyf.gif born 9/2010
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#9 of 9 Old 11-06-2011, 01:03 PM
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Have you read the No Cry Sleep Solution?  It's got some good ideas.  I had difficulties with my DD1 going to sleep, she spent every evening alternately nursing and crying, it took hours to get her to sleep and was very hard work.  At around 9/10 months I did an adapted Baby Whisperer method of 'sleep training', where I did our bedtime routine, put her in the cot, then left the room.  If she cried I counted 20 seconds then went back in, soothed her (not nursing) and went out again. Kept on doing that, going in literally every 20 seconds if necessary, so she knew I was always there.  Looking back, i wonder if I could have done it a bit more gently but with her there was no middle ground, I couldn't get her to a point of sleepiness enough to put her in the cot without her being wide awake.


I think the NCSS book would suggest that you try rocking your little boy to sleep as normal, then when he's drowsy but not quite asleep put him gently in the bed.  If he starts crying, pick him up and rock him again until he's nearly asleep, then put him in the bed.  Repeat repeat repeat.  I know some children this won't work for (it didn't with DD1 hence ending up just putting her in the cot) but it's worth trying, although it will be had work for a few days/weeks.  If that starts working, then you can move to rocking him a little bit less before putting him down. 

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