Baby in the Bed

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Change the Schedule

Start the process by not continuing to nurse your son until he falls asleep. You want to create a new routine, which means breaking out of the old one. Try singing a song to your son as you prepare him for bed -- the song will initiate the beginning of the bedtime routine. Bathe him, change his diaper, put on his pajamas, rock him, and nurse him. If he starts to fall asleep while you nurse, lay him down in his crib. He may wake and fuss. If he does, offer a kiss and a hug, then promptly lay him back down. Pat him gently on his back to soothe him and let him know that you are still present. Eventually your son will fall asleep -- fatigue will be working on your side.

Don't Give In to the Crying Game

After a few days of patting him to sleep, move to sitting in the room near his crib until he falls asleep without your patting him. Again, expect protest cries, but do not give in and pick him up. The next step will be to move completely out of the room. When he cries out, stand at the door and talk softly to him. Let him know you're there by saying something like, "Mommy's here, it's time to fall asleep." Keep your voice soft and monotone and check in on him every five minutes. Keep repeating the refrain, until you don't hear any more fussing from his side of the door.

Be Consistent

This new routine will be a challenge to you and your baby. He'll cry at first. That's to be expected. He'll be sad -- even mad -- because you're changing what has been familiar and comfortable. Let him protest, but steel yourself against his cries. It will be difficult for you both. However, if you really want him to sleep independently, you can't be wishy-washy about this process. For each step in the process, give yourself a least a week's time to help you both adjust to the changes. You may be surprised at how quickly your baby will adapt. However, it's important for you to be consistent. Keep reminding yourself that it's better to have him fuss and cry now than when he's older and more resistant to staying down or in his bed. Once your son is sleeping on his own, do not bring him back into your bed -- not unless you want to start the process over again.


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