Babies: 3 - 6 Months

? for STMs...what's the big deal about LO going to sleep on his own?

I'm seeing lots of posts on various threads about LOs learning to go to sleep on their own or LO's not having to be rocked to sleep. Am I missing something? I rock LO to sleep still. He's 3 months. I wasn't aware that they need to be weened off that. For some reason I thought an infants ability to just fall asleep on their own came with time. I never lay him down drowsy because initially it never worked, but also I like knowing he's sleep so I don't have to worry about going back in the coax him to sleep. It helps me relax. 

I will say however, last night that I put him down probably before he was in a deep sleep and he woke back up. We did this twice, but the second time, I let him whimper a little just to see what he would do and after 10 minutes he fell asleep. This morning he did the same thing and I was actually proud of him.

But rocking him to sleep is part of our normal routine and I really had not thought about that being a negative. Of course I don't want him to be 4 years old and I'm still rocking him. LOL But I just thought that the ability to fall asleep on his own would come as he grew in his infancy and became more aware of being sleepy.

Could this backfire on me if I don't start weening him off the rocking?  

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Re: ? for STMs...what's the big deal about LO going to sleep on his own?

  •  I knew we had to start working on this when it would take 2 hours to put her to bed. I would nurse her to sleep but she'd wake up 20 mins after I set her in her crib.  Or she would just fuss and squirm when I tried to rock her to sleep (which used to work).  She needs to learn to get herself back to sleep and part of that is being able to set her down drowsy.

    If your LO still rocks to sleep, its fine IMO if that is what works for your family. 

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  • They really don't learn it on their own. If you continually rock them to sleep, hoping one day they are going to want to go to sleep on their own, it's probably not going to happen. The older they get, the more attached to it they become, which makes it harder to wean when you realize they aren't going to learn to fall asleep on their own. Some babies may, but it's pretty rare.

    DD1, I was so against forcing her to learn to self soothe. Then at 8 months, I realized it definitely wasn't because she didn't know how to, but because we allowed her to fall asleep in our arms for so long. 

    I also worked at a daycare with a little boy, who came to us at 2 months. His mother still was rocking him to sleep for naps and bedtime (which meant we had to for nap time too), at 14 months. It's just not a natural ability built into a baby, they definitely have to learn it.

    I am on the other spectrum of this debate, on trying to understand fully why it's so difficult to spend 3 days or so training your child to self soothe via CIO or some other method. 

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  • I think for my LO, his being rocked to sleep is what helps with not having to come back. Like I had to last night when I put him down drowsy(but honestly I had some nachos that was calling my name so I took my chances. LOL) I knew better.  I typically rock him to a deep enough sleep where he's down for the night at least for a 4 or 5 hour stretch.

    But I don't want it to end up being a situation where he's like 3 years old and can't go to sleep without the rocking.  I just thought babies grew out of that need. 

    It's just the more I see posts about it, the more I thought I might be hindering his progress or something. 

  • image rjeller32:

    They really don't learn it on their own. If you continually rock them to sleep, hoping one day they are going to want to go to sleep on their own, it's probably not going to happen. The older they get, the more attached to it they become, which makes it harder to wean when you realize they aren't going to learn to fall asleep on their own. Some babies may, but it's pretty rare.

    DD1, I was so against forcing her to learn to self soothe. Then at 8 months, I realized it definitely wasn't because she didn't know how to, but because we allowed her to fall asleep in our arms for so long. 

    I also worked at a daycare with a little boy, who came to us at 2 months. His mother still was rocking him to sleep for naps and bedtime (which meant we had to for nap time too), at 14 months. It's just not a natural ability built into a baby, they definitely have to learn it.

    I am on the other spectrum of this debate, on trying to understand fully why it's so difficult to spend 3 days or so training your child to self soothe via CIO or some other method. 

     

    I've witnessed this debate among the bumpies and I've never really been on either end. I was just doing what felt like worked. Since LO generally falls asleep on the bottle, the rocking is just part of the feeding for us and it became a regular part of the process. Quite frankly I hadn't thought about a self soothing method because I was mistaken about what I thought would just happen naturally. Yikes. We shall see.

  • CellisCellis
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    I'm not a STM, so maybe it'll be different as DS gets older, but I nurse and rock him to sleep before naps and bedtime. The majority of the time I place him in the crib asleep. Sometimes he wakes back up when I put him in his crib and he cries for less than 2 minutes before falling asleep. He wakes up during the night sometimes, but he doesn't need me to go back to sleep. He just plays with his feet, sucks on his fingers, and then eventually lays there staring at the ceiling until he falls back asleep. So I think he has figured out how to go to sleep on his own even though I nurse/rock him.
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  • Not a STM, but I wanted to chime in.

    I nursed DD to sleep up until she was 4 months. Based on the unwanted advice of a certain in-law, I stopped doing that because I feared she would never learn to sleep on her own. Well, it turned into a nightmare with a screaming and very overtired baby on my hands. I read an article on kellymom.com about nursing to sleep that made me feel a lot better about what I had been doing before and that there was really nothing wrong with it. I went back to that routine and now at 5 months, she is STTN and is not interested in nursing to sleep anymore. I guess every baby is different, but I am in the camp that you should just do whatever works. If its not broke, do not fix it.

    Here is the article: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/comfortnursing/

    "The sleep issue is not merely a matter of good versus bad habits. It is much more an issue of culture and lifestyle and expectations. Here are three approaches to parenting issues:

    • Forcing baby to change to fit the parent?s lifestyle is one approach. Our American culture tends not to be very baby friendly, and rarely makes accommodations for nursing babies. The current trend, seen in many popular books and parenting magazines, is to force baby to do all of the accommodating so that we experience as little change in our pre-baby lifestyle as possible; for example, baby MUST sleep through the night so that we get unbroken sleep and a ?good? baby is seen as one who makes as few demands on his parents as possible.
    • Another approach is to try to approximate the mothering style of traditional societies and let the parents do all the accommodating. This approach can be very difficult to pull off without lots of support and changes of expectations in the people around us.
    • A third approach is to do as much accommodating on the parental side as possible, and then to ?ask? baby to accommodate the last part of the gap. This is an approach that can work for many families. With this approach, parents do all they can to be sensitive to their baby?s needs, and only ask baby to accommodate when nothing else truly works."
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  • image Cellis:
    I'm not a STM, so maybe it'll be different as DS gets older, but I nurse and rock him to sleep before naps and bedtime. The majority of the time I place him in the crib asleep. Sometimes he wakes back up when I put him in his crib and he cries for less than 2 minutes before falling asleep. He wakes up during the night sometimes, but he doesn't need me to go back to sleep. He just plays with his feet, sucks on his fingers, and then eventually lays there staring at the ceiling until he falls back asleep. So I think he has figured out how to go to sleep on his own even though I nurse/rock him.

     

    Ok...because it looks like my LO will be able to do this as well. He did it last night and he did it this morning with the mobile. I was starting to get concerned about the rocking based on the posts I was seeing and I didn't want to set us both up for trouble down the road. 

  • image rockyrollgirl:

    Not a STM, but I wanted to chime in.

    I nursed DD to sleep up until she was 4 months. Based on the unwanted advice of a certain in-law, I stopped doing that because I feared she would never learn to sleep on her own. Well, it turned into a nightmare with a screaming and very overtired baby on my hands. I read an article on kellymom.com about nursing to sleep that made me feel a lot better about what I had been doing before and that there was really nothing wrong with it. I went back to that routine and now at 5 months, she is STTN and is not interested in nursing to sleep anymore. I guess every baby is different, but I am in the camp that you should just do whatever works. If its not broke, do not fix it.

    Here is the article: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/comfortnursing/

    "The sleep issue is not merely a matter of good versus bad habits. It is much more an issue of culture and lifestyle and expectations. Here are three approaches to parenting issues:

    • Forcing baby to change to fit the parent?s lifestyle is one approach. Our American culture tends not to be very baby friendly, and rarely makes accommodations for nursing babies. The current trend, seen in many popular books and parenting magazines, is to force baby to do all of the accommodating so that we experience as little change in our pre-baby lifestyle as possible; for example, baby MUST sleep through the night so that we get unbroken sleep and a ?good? baby is seen as one who makes as few demands on his parents as possible.
    • Another approach is to try to approximate the mothering style of traditional societies and let the parents do all the accommodating. This approach can be very difficult to pull off without lots of support and changes of expectations in the people around us.
    • A third approach is to do as much accommodating on the parental side as possible, and then to ?ask? baby to accommodate the last part of the gap. This is an approach that can work for many families. With this approach, parents do all they can to be sensitive to their baby?s needs, and only ask baby to accommodate when nothing else truly works."

    Thanks so much for this info. Honestly the third approach is where me and LO's comfort zone is so I will see how it goes from here.  Thanks again!

  • I never rocked my kids to sleep. They get their night bottle and then they go into their sleeper. When they wake up they come in bed with me. We are very baby led in our house and both my kidssleep great .
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  • My theory on this is that as long as it works for you, it's fine. As soon as you have a problem with rocking, etc. whether that be at 3 months or 3 years, then it doesn't work. I nursed DS1 to sleep or rocked him until he was about 16 months old. Around that point, it started taking forever to get him to bed, so I stopped. We never did any Ferber/CIO/whatever and he just eventually got it on his own with very little whining/crying. Currently, DS2 falls asleep on his own. I don't know if this will remain to be the case - if he needs rocked, I will rock him. But for now, it's what works for him, so it works for me.
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  • image MrsWindyCity:
    My theory on this is that as long as it works for you, it's fine. As soon as you have a problem with rocking, etc. whether that be at 3 months or 3 years, then it doesn't work. I nursed DS1 to sleep or rocked him until he was about 16 months old. Around that point, it started taking forever to get him to bed, so I stopped. We never did any Ferber/CIO/whatever and he just eventually got it on his own with very little whining/crying. Currently, DS2 falls asleep on his own. I don't know if this will remain to be the case - if he needs rocked, I will rock him. But for now, it's what works for him, so it works for me.

    This.  I nursed DS1 to sleep until he quit going to sleep while nursing.  Then we rocked him.  Then we moved to sitting near his bed.  Eventually when we were sitting there for an hour, we decided it wasn't working and did some sleep training (at age 2) and now he sleeps in his own room through the night no problem.  We bedshared at night until he was 14 months old too.  Do what works for your family. Personally, I think babies should be snuggled, fed at night, and treated like a baby.  They won't need you to do those things forever.

     

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  • image MrsWindyCity:
    My theory on this is that as long as it works for you, it's fine. As soon as you have a problem with rocking, etc. whether that be at 3 months or 3 years, then it doesn't work. I nursed DS1 to sleep or rocked him until he was about 16 months old. Around that point, it started taking forever to get him to bed, so I stopped. We never did any Ferber/CIO/whatever and he just eventually got it on his own with very little whining/crying. Currently, DS2 falls asleep on his own. I don't know if this will remain to be the case - if he needs rocked, I will rock him. But for now, it's what works for him, so it works for me.

    This, exactly. If DS needs cuddles to go to sleep, that's what  he gets.

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  • As a basic rule, I don't rock/nurse my kids to sleep.  But if they are acting extra needy then sure, I'll give them love and comfort until they are calm.  Same goes with bedsharing.  Everyone sleeps in their own beds unless it's a special circumstance.  It's worked well for us.
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  • Do what feels natural.  Ignore all other advice.  You will not have to nurse and rock your teenager to sleep.  We all figure it out.
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  • Honestly, you just have to find something that works for your family. My son isn't there yet but he'll get there eventually. I have found that having a frame of mind that they'll get there when they're ready is easiest for us.
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  • Do you know what my advice is...enjoy your baby! Rock your baby, cuddle your baby, don't rush it. We as a society is just to pressed on young independence in my opinion. I never regretted rocking my son to sleep and I don't think I'll ever regret it with DD.  He just transitioned to a new way as he grew up. For me at least I'm thankful that DH and I never rush the milestones and just hold and enjoy our babies. But then again I'm a SAHM and DH is SUPER hands on when he's home so we both have a lifestyle that supports this. 
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  • I never did any sort of sleep training with my older two. Both fell asleep while feeding and slowly transitioned out of it on their own. By a year (if not earlier, it was such a non-issue I don't remember) they had started going to sleep on their own without a problem. I will do the same with my son.

    Drowsy but awake did not work for any of our children and CIO is not an option I would consider unless my child were so overtired it was affecting their development. 

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  • I'm a big believer in sleep training and do it by 6 months. This is what I'm comfortable with and what works for me. In the end, if you like your method and it is working then there is no need to rock the boat now.

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  • 3 months is young but eventually I do feel it has to happen, unless you plan to be one and done and even then it might get hard after awhile!

    DS (now 2.5) was always nursed to sleep. I enjoyed this and liked knowing he was sound asleep.  It's not that I regret it or anything, it's just that he would wake up many times in the middle of the night until he was 16 months old, and each time, he needed me to nurse him back to sleep again...because it's the only way he knew how to go to sleep.  When they're able to put themselves to sleep, they can do that when they wake up briefly at night, and it's more restful for them. His sleep pattern was brutal.

    Now I have DD (5 months), and although I do nurse/rock her to sleep, I have started giving her opportunities to fall asleep on her own and very much want her to be able to master this soon.  We nurse and rock and cuddle lots, I don't deny her that affection or soothing, but I'm looking for a happy medium.

    The reason I mention one and done is because right now you might have all the time in the world to rock and nurse for all naps and bedtimes (just like I did) but once #2 comes along, it' s much harder to do that with #2 when you have a toddler that you need to look after as well.  DD is smothered with cuddles and love during the day but I do need to be able to put her in her crib and leave the room and have her go to sleep, at some point in the near future...because I can't leave my 2 year old to his own devices.

    That was a lot of rambling...just trying to give the perspective of a STM who wished she had done it differently the first time....gently, but differently!

    ETA:  I do agree with the "it's not a problem until it's a problem" advice and have quoted it many times to moms who nurse to sleep. I just want to make sure I don't sound like I'm against it - nursing to sleep is the most natural and comforting thing for a baby and it would be cruel to never give them that. I just wish I had ever given DS the chance to be content in his crib and doze off at any point, but I never did.  


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  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

    We sleep trained because it was definitely broken. He was becoming far too dependent on being held for naps that his nap length was never long enough to really be restorative. That being said, what we have now accomplished is great. I still nurse him to sleep at night, but I can put him down in his crib when he is done and he goes to sleep without having to play the tip toe game (where you pray the whole way out of the room that he doesn't wake up).  

    When you are ready you will make the change. There have been some mothers who find their LO leads the change and they just follow- lucky them! And others do their research and choose a method that works within their parenting style.

    If you are starting to think of it now but aren't ready yet, you have a great advantage to buy a couple different books, hit the Internet and get some understanding about your baby's sleep. 

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  • OP rock your baby. Enjoy those moments because they go by very quickly. I rocked DD until she didn't want it anymore and I will do the same with DS. Rocking him is one of my favorite things to do. I know now how fast this time goes and I will not rush it this time. You are not doing anything wrong by rocking your baby to sleep. You know what feels natural and what works for you, so do that. I swear you will not have a 4 yr old wanting rocked to sleep. 
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  • Well ever since my original post LO has been actually wanting to fall asleep on his own. I noticed that after he's full he becomes a little fussy and restless in my arms. So I listen to his cues, put him in the crib and he falls asleep to the mobile. Last night was his first time actually sleeping through the night. 

    Luckily LO is good with naps in the daytime and he sleeps well at night. So it's not broken at all. So like many of you said, I'm going to do what feels natural for us. Right now we're going with the flow. :-)

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. As a FTM I'm still learning.

    But to answer a question or comment from a previous poster. Yes Ma'am, I'm one and done! I'm old and he was a surprise. :-)

  • For a few babies out there is will never turn into an issue. However, f
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  • Lexi gets BM in a bottle so we feed her and walk her and she falls asleep. She has consistently slept 9 to 10 hours, sometimes 12 so I will keep on doing that. No way am I messing with that. She is 3.5 months
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  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    I still rock DS every single night and he is 15 months old. I don't plan on stopping although he points to the crib and would rather be in there than on my lap.

    DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO and don't worry about anything else. For real. You'd hate to look back when he's older and be like "Damn! I should have kept doing that but strangers on the internet told me to stop so I did". Know what I'm saying?!

     

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  • You have time, but if they do not learn to go to sleep on their own, you end up with a 3 year old toddler that still needs to be rocked to sleep and a newborn who does not like to wait the 45 minutes it takes to get her brother to sleep. Bedtime turns into a 2 hour event with a lot of tears.  Needless to say, DD will be learning to fall asleep on her own.

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  • My MIL and I were discussing controversial topics, like rocking to sleep bc I do it, too, and she said "So if it becomes a habit, who is that really hardest on? It's much harder for you than it is for baby, so if you're OK with it, then what's the big deal?" 
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  • BTW. Like I said, I rock my 3 mo to sleep and he sleeps from 10pm to 6:30 am.  Sooooo... no complaints here.  His weight gain is fine and pedi is not concerned about not nursing that whole time, so it works for me!
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  • It's all about compromise.  I nurse and rock DD to sleep, but would like to help her learn to fall asleep on her own as well.

    And last night, that's exactly what we did.  I've started putting DD down in her crib as she's falling asleep, progressively letting her spend more time in the crib and less time in my arms.

    I don't expect her to fall asleep on her own every time, and I'm not looking to eliminate our cuddle time at night, but I'd like her to begin to learn how to fall asleep on her own early so she can draw upon that skill when she's a bit older. 

    I'm sure lots of babies figure it out on their own when it's time, but I don't want to be one of those parents struggling later on in DDs life because I didn't address this issue early on.  Besides, I'm saving all my efforts and patience for potty training!

     

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