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My baby is almost 4 months old and will only sleep on me. Any tips on how I can break her of this bad habit and get her in her own bed?

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Asked by Cancutie at 11:07 PM on Jun. 12, 2013 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 1 (2 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • I, personally, wouldn't call that a bad habit. I love it when she sleeps on me, but she's getting older that she would rather sleep on her own :(

    Keep trying to lay her down or get a swing to place her in and let her fall asleep in it.

    Answer by hopeandglory53 at 11:10 PM on Jun. 12, 2013

  • She might just have to cry it out.. Try swaddling her tightly so it feels like you're holding her.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 11:12 PM on Jun. 12, 2013

  • Put he in bed
    pat her back and croon to her. If you wear a scent spritz a tiny bit on the outside of the bed so it smells like mommy.
    There are "toys" that make soothing noise, get one of those. Keep trying and it will happen. Mine fell asleep while nursing until they were maybe 9 or 10 month old.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:15 PM on Jun. 12, 2013

  • Mine slept in a swing most of the time, rocking slowly, till she was nine or ten months old. I also had some luck with those swaddling blankets that have Velcro on them to keep them fastened.

    Answer by Ballad at 11:45 PM on Jun. 12, 2013

  • It's not a "bad" habit. It's one that a lot of parents don't like, but that doesn't make it bad. She's programmed to want to be close to you as a matter of survival.

    Even CIO advocates say NOT to do it before six months. But you've been given a lot of great ideas. I'll also suggest sidecarring the crib to your bed so she's within arm's reach. It's easy to move her back to her own space that way.

    Answer by gdiamante at 11:57 PM on Jun. 12, 2013

  • Does she sleep in the car? It's an old trick, and obviously do NOT do it unsupervised, but a carseat on top of the drier has a similar motion and doens't use up your gas budget. Plus you have a reason to work on the laundry...

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:54 AM on Jun. 13, 2013

  • What happens if you put her down to sleep someplace else, or try to transfer her from you when she's asleep? She won't settle? She cries and won't go back to sleep no matter what?

    I agree with others that suggest it is not really a "bad habit." Think of your baby as doing what she needs in order to feel okay. She is coping with, or managing, something, and insisting on what she needs in order to pull this off.

    I think in general, shifting from resistance to acceptance is an important part of responding constructively to issues with our children. Sometimes that simple (not easy, but simple) change alone is even enough to resolve issues, because our feelings of opposition, tension & resistance (our focus on what we DON'T like/want) tend to reinforce whatever feels negative, partly because they trigger anxiety & counter-resistance in the baby.

    BUT, I also would suggest info from "The Aware Baby" by psychologist Aletha Solter.

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:30 AM on Jun. 13, 2013

  • Solter's book is about supporting infants (and toddlers & older children) to release feelings that are interfering with their functioning. When you identify a pattern such as you have (and I'm assuming the baby is otherwise fed & comfortable, not waking/crying because she's hungry or needs changing) you can wonder if something is interfering with you baby's ability to settle & relax. She is using you (very smartly!) for security, to keep feelings of distress at bay.
    It is normal for a young baby to collect feelings (not the least from birth, and particularly if the birth was especially difficult or traumatic) that need to be expressed. Fear & overwhelming feelings often get stored until they can be released (through crying) with a parent's support. But parents often focus on stopping/soothing all crying, so babies learn various patterns of "control" to keep feelings at bay. When the stored feelings intrude & interfere with the

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:43 AM on Jun. 13, 2013

  • (cont.)
    baby's ability to settle, she likely will "insist" on whatever control pattern, or coping mechanism, she has learned to use to keep the distressing feelings down. Babies will "need" a particular thing (always nursing to sleep, nursing BACK to sleep with increasingly frequent wakings, sleeping on a parent, sleeping in a swing, a pacifier or thumb, being held/carried/rocked, etc.) in order to soothe & to sleep.
    This typically indicates stored feelings that are intruding into the baby's consciousness, prompting the baby to "insist" on her learned mechanism for patting them back down (where they stay stored & the whole pattern will reoccur.)

    When babies & children have big, distressing feelings, they need supportive, caring listening in order to release the feelings in a way that brings resolution. Crying alone doesn't allow for this so "CIO" isn't healing in the same way. The Aware Baby is about how to listen & help.

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:54 AM on Jun. 13, 2013

  • But you don't need the book. lol
    You can try just giving her your warm, caring attention (and physical contact, such as holding her on your knees and looking at her) when she is upset, instead of moving immediately to stop it.
    Feed her so you know she's satisfied, burp her, make sure she's not uncomfortable or in pain--all that you normally would do, but give her some room to let out feelings that might have her off-kilter. If you feel agitated or distressed when she cries, maybe remind yourself that she's doing something important & healthy. It is easy for new experiences to be frightening! Babies carry stuff (actual fear) from even mundane-seeming things. The important thing isn't somehow never having "bad" feelings; it's being able to release feelings as they happen, and having support to do so.
    If she needs to cry, be there with her & try letting it happen. Care, but don't rescue. "Yes," "I know," "Yes."
    See what changes.

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:03 AM on Jun. 13, 2013

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