Rockabye Baby ….

Dear Mamas,
We have a 15 month old little boy and have been struggling with nap time recently. Our normal routine is to rock him until he is asleep and then put him in his crib. Well, the transfer part isn’t working anymore, and he wakes up as soon as we put him down. For awhile he would fall asleep and stay asleep in our laps, so at least he was getting some rest, but that’s getting old. I recently tried the cry it out method for 4 days and there was no improvement, so I stopped because we were all exhausted! I’m OK with rocking him, but just want to know if there are any tips on how to transfer him to him to his crib? Can you HELP?

Cranky and Tired

Dear Cranky,

No kidding! This routine you’ve gotten into doesn’t sound like much fun — for you or for him. But the good news is that your little guy is sending a message loud and clear. “Hey guys, it’s time I learned to put myself to sleep!”

From what you’ve told us I’d guess that bedtime is no picnic either, so let’s come up with a new strategy that can help the whole family get to sleep. I know you say you’ve tried the “cry it out method”, but I’m not sure what that entailed. What follows is the “Dr. Mama Method”, and it is fully guaranteed if followed to the letter, so here goes:

1) Create a consistent routine. Choose a bedtime (or naptime) and wind-down activities and stick to them. Don’t start the training at a time when your family is out of their usual environment or going through a major upheaval. Familiarity and repetition are critical to success.

2) After a meal or bedtime snack choose a pre-crib ritual like a quiet story or lullaby. Never put your little guy in the crib with a bottle. Milk or juice will sit on the teeth during sleep and cause decay. Plain water is OK.

3) Say goodnight, leave the room, and close the door. Let him cry for a full 10 minutes (you’ll need to time it). If he’s still crying, go to the closed door and repeat your soothing goodnights. DO NOT ENTER THE ROOM. Repeat until he falls asleep. The first night (or nap) this may take up to an hour.

4) If he wakes during the night and cries go to the door and give gentle reassurance. DO NOT ENTER THE ROOM. Let him cry for 10 minutes before repeating. Continue to repeat as above.

This technique will be hard for you. You’ll feel guilty and want to comfort him and rock him like the old days. Stay strong. You’re teaching your guy an important skill. By night (or nap) 2 or 3 he’ll cry for 1/2 the time. By night 5 your lives will be transformed. I guarantee it.

Good luck and good sleep!

Email This Post Email This Post

Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?

Warning: Illegal string offset 'echo' in /home/mamasonc/public_html/mama/wp-content/themes/hybrid/library/extensions/custom-field-series.php on line 157

One response to “Rockabye Baby ….”

  1. Sleep Train 101

    […] To take a look at our answer for the mom of another rockin’ toddler, click here. […]

Leave a Reply




With One or Both of Us

Go to & for the scoop!

Phone • Internet • Your Home or Group

Listen up

The Five Second Rule: True Or False?

If you pick it up within five seconds, you can eat it, right?

Watch This!

Teach your kids to step in and step up when they see a classmate being teased. Show them how to respond and tell them what to say. Let's try to make our world a little kinder and a little warmer. Please?

What You Said

  • Rebecca Benham: My son woke up with bumps on his stomach help
  • Chelie Belie: AND up the street there’s a psychotic IT that is awe-struck by me! Walks by my property carrying...
  • Chelie Belie: I live next door to Ned Flanders–how would you like that??
  • Maggie sullivan: I have a neighbor, will holler and wave at me if i am near porch but if i try to sit in the yard, or...
  • Ellen Schrier: Thank you so much! Please come back often!
  • Ellen Schrier: Hi Lisa, Sorry for the very late response. We are sorry to hear about your daughter and are sure that...
  • Lisa jacobs: My daughter was in a car accident and now has a concussion. She is plan to go to Mexico City which is a...
  • RF: Well my baby had her first two bottom theeth at 10 months old and i tought so far so good and then now at 11...
  • ofertas cine: That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks...
  • Commercial Real Estate: Hello there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to...

Just so you know

The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.