You really don't need me anymore, but you don't seem to know that
July 29, 2012 5:15 PM   Subscribe

I need help figuring out how to get my 11 month old baby to fall asleep by himself. Anyone been there, done that? Halp?

I currently lay down with him in his crib and cradle him in my arm by my side, but don't do much in the way of helping or sushing him - he does a great job of doing the work of going to sleep on his own - he's usually out within 20 minutes (this is for both 2 naps a day and bedtime) but I'm really ready to just be able to put him down and leave the room.

His room has space for a chair for me to sit and hopefully just read (to myself) as he nods off, but I'm looking for help getting a game plan for me to transition from crib to chair to putting him down and leaving.

We do have a bedtime routine and I see no reason to change that part, I'm just looking for the laying him down and not having him freak out part. I haven't started yet as I'd like to have some opinions/help before I do this blindly. He does get very upset if I just put him in his crib and leave the room right now - he will also just get up and cruise the crib if I don't lie down with him.

And yes, I do wish I'd done more of this before, but here we are now. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
posted by cestmoi15 to Human Relations (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You don't mention anything about crying it out, which is usually something parents in your position have considered. Cry it out will be awful, but it will work. You can stretch it out a bit through various methods, so it will be less awful but also take a bit longer to work.

I know it's really tough and I agree with many parents that their kids are just too young for it, but at 11 months I really think you deserve to be able to just put him in his crib awake. You will have a terrible week, but your life will be so much easier when you're done. Other people will have different suggestions, but I think you could try cry-it-out guilt free at this point. He's practically a toddler. He knows you won't really leave him.

Also, he cruises the, but he will get tired. He'll sit down, then lie down, then fall asleep. Every day it will be faster.

Good luck!
posted by that's how you get ants at 5:38 PM on July 29, 2012

My cousin used the Ferber method with great success.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:49 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution is PERFECT for your situation. You can find most of the information you need on her website.
posted by LyndsayMW at 5:58 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

It sounds like his routine for going to sleep is laying next to mama and nodding off. Something has to replace you in his routine. A ritual of some sort so he knows it is now time to go to sleep.

I used a music box. I start this pretty early, so they associated the music with going to sleep. If they would wake in the night and cry for more than 5 minutes, I would comfort them with just my voice and wind up the music box. Most of the time they would quite down and fall back to sleep.
posted by JujuB at 6:00 PM on July 29, 2012

We tried the no cry sleep solution when our son was 9 months old. 17 months later, we still couldn't get him to sleep without crying or staying in his room for an hour, and he would wake up 2-3 times a night. We did a cry it out method similar to ferber at 26 months, and within 4 days he was sleeping through the night on his own without crying.

If you don't want your kid to cry at all, than you have a long road ahead of you. I know no one who used a no-cry method who had any significant results without taking 6+ months to get there. On the other hand, every single person I know who did a cry it out method had their child sleeping through the night within less than a week. This is based off of about 50 or so parents who we know through various groups.

It all comes down to how much crying and fussing you are willing to let your child do. In our case, we found that we were significantly better parents when we weren't sleep deprived every day. The 3 or so total hours of crying over the sleep training period were completely offset by us being happier and having more energy during the day. I really wish we had done it when he was 11 months, that would have given us a whole extra year of better sleep and better parenting.
posted by markblasco at 7:11 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

I used cry it out for one of my kids and it was horrific, took way more than a week. Two weeks iirc, I've tried to blank it out.

I vote for a hybrid. I think no-cry is REALLY hard to achieve. My beef with Ferber etc is that I don't like leaving a baby to cry alone. So instead I recommend a gradual transition. This will probably involve crying, but (IMHO) crying while you are present to reassure with voice and hands is kinder. So I would gradually move away from the crib to the chair, then gradually move from chair across the room to the door. This would take a while, like a few weeks I would bet.
posted by Joh at 7:24 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Gradually moving away is the Sleep Lady solution. I've never tried it but I've heard good things...however, different things work for different babies. My baby actually does a routine, then we put him in his crib and he fusses for a minute or two then drifts off. We discovered this because he wasn't letting us put him to bed anymore, he doesn't like to be touched while he's trying to fall asleep--so basically the opposite of your baby! There are so many different things to try for all the different babies. If one doesn't work, try another.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:50 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I put mine to bed with a bottle when I know he's hungry and tired. He's now dependent on sleeping with a bottle, but it beats the alternative.
posted by gentian at 9:27 PM on July 29, 2012

We coslept for a long time, and when it was time to transition away from that, I did what you're currently doing--lying next to her, then slipping out once she was asleep. Over the course of about two weeks, then, I went from lying next to her to sitting next to her on the bed, and then sitting on the floor next to her bed still touching her, etc. I also gave her a special blanket (of mine) and stuffie to hold on to. By the end of two weeks, I was basically able to tuck her in and walk out within a few minutes. There was very minimal crying, and definitely nothing as traumatic (for me) as what crying it out sounds like.

Obviously this isn't a surefire thing, as it'll depend some on your kid, but I'd try a slow removal before I went with full on CIO.
posted by MeghanC at 10:40 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was in nearly the same position as you precisely at 11 months, except that except for laying down next to her I had her in her crib with my hand resting on her chest. I didn't mean to, but through repetition I inadvertently taught her she needed my hand on her to fall asleep.

I was exhausted but took about a week reading different sleep books and decided I needed results soon, and not several months from now with hours of time put into sleep charts and note taking. So I did the cry it out method where I followed the normal nighttime routine except I didn't rest my hand on her chest at all, said I love yous and good nights, and left the room. After five minutes if she was still crying I went in to say it was time for sleeping and I loved her, and left again. Then I wouldn't go in again for 10 minutes. Then the next time she cried wait for 15 minutes, but it never got to that point for us. And while it was hard to hear her cry and I felt like I was betraying her, she fell asleep without fuss by the fourth day, and really even those days she did cry some it wasn't continuous or or belabored. She was confused and her feelings were hurt, but at that point she was totally capable of putting herself to sleep, she didn't really need me. I also think the little bit of crying she did do got her a bit more tired and helped knock her out, ultimately.

Not that your child will do the same, necessarily, but for what it's worth I tried crying it out at 11 months, too, and it worked fantastically for us. I get the sense that crying it out just doesn't work for some kids, so if things go longer than a week or so and you still have a big fuss you may want to try another method. But if your child reacts the way mine did at 11 months, you will have a few hard nights followed by a more independent baby and more me time.

If you want to do something more gradual as a transition, does his crib have bars so that you can lay him down, sit nearby, but poke your arm through the bars and still sort of cradle him a bit with your arm as you do now? That would at least get you out of the crib.

Btw, I am very impressed you can fit in his crib!!!

Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 11:31 PM on July 29, 2012

For our first baby we used a CD of Marty Robbin's Greatest Hits *blush*.

First step, rocking and singing, putting baby down when he was drowsy, and staying there singing along until he fell asleep properly. Second step, just singing along and holding his hand. Third step, we could pop him in bed and leave "Uncle Marty" to sing him to sleep.

By the third step, his eyes would shut despite himself as "El Paso" struck up.

If you want to try this, use any CD you don't hate, it doesn't have to be cheesy 1950's country pop. (In fact, I recommend using anything else).

Both my boys have sometimes had to have a little grizzle before going to sleep - almost as if they were using up their last little reserve of boisterous energy. That's what I think of as "crying it out" - so I don't step in at that point, and try to tear myself away from listening at the door! Baby freaking out and becoming totally wound up is not good CIO, go with your gut.
posted by Catch at 11:37 PM on July 29, 2012

The Sleep Lady worked for us -- it's like a more gentle cry-it-out. Our son was 12 months old when we tried it, and it only took one night before he got it and started going to sleep on his own, though it was about a month before we would put him in his crib, say good night, and leave straight away while he was still awake.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:08 AM on July 30, 2012

We used Sleepy Planet, and we have a really firm bedtime routine, which included relaxation music (as opposed to white noise) and a specific song. We recently dropped the relaxation music (after 6 months of using it, we probably could have dropped it sooner). Now when he hears that one song he immediately starts yawning. Sleepy Planet is a CIO method. I was opposed to it for a long time, but getting no sleep for weeks (I charted it - he was waking 8-10x a night, due to the association of sleeping with me) made me change my mind. It worked within a week, for both naps and nighttime. Good luck!
posted by vignettist at 10:09 AM on July 30, 2012

You might be interested in this instructional book. I highly recommend the audiobook version, as narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
posted by davr at 12:33 PM on August 2, 2012

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