Our Baby Won't Sleep

When She's Too Attached to You

He can't nod off without you.

Baby reaching up to mobile

Jeff Harris

Whether you rock him or pat his back until he drifts off, your baby has become dependent on your presence to fall asleep.

Sleep solutions: Don't abandon him entirely. Instead, gradually spend less time in his room each night and use a transitional object like a pacifier or a blankie to make the process easier. (Yes, pacifiers are okay at night -- the new American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines actually recommend them.) However, a baby must be around 6 months old before he sleeps with a lovey -- before that, anything loose in his crib increases the risk of SIDS. But you can start swaddling him with the blanket that will eventually become his lovey, says Dr. Tobin. If your baby gravitates toward his fuzzy lamb, incorporate it into his bedtime routine until he's old enough to cuddle with it in his crib.

She's struggling to give up co-sleeping.

You're finally ready to reclaim your bedroom, but your mini roommate isn't interested in her lonely crib. And the longer you've co-slept, the harder this process is going to be.

Sleep solutions: "This takes a while, so make the break gradually," says Dr. Mindell. First, have her nap by herself; once she's used to sleeping alone, do her bedtime routine in her room. Then move her crib into your room or put her down in her own room but continue to bring her into your bed if she wakes up during the night. If she doesn't seem able to make the final transition to spending the whole night alone, you'll have to let her fuss in her room for a while. But once she realizes you're not coming to get her, she'll learn to soothe herself.

You can't stand to let her fuss.

Think about it: Do you fall asleep the minute you get into bed? Probably not. Well, neither does your baby. So when you burst into her room at the slightest whimper, you may be distracting her from falling asleep, or even waking her up.

Sleep solutions: Fight the urge to check on her for a few minutes. "If you don't give your baby a chance to calm herself, she won't learn to do it as quickly," says Dr. Tobin. And if you're glued to the baby monitor, just turn it down so that you only hear the major screaming -- not the murmuring that babies naturally do in their sleep.

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