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You play "peek-a-boo" with your baby. You talk to them while you're changing their diaper. You sing to them as you rock them to sleep.
It is common that parents come to me because their baby wakes up every time they try to put baby down. No matter how gently, slowly or quietly they put baby down, they suddenly wake up!
A change in sleep needs
It can be so frustrating for parents. It is an exhausting endeavor. Parents work so hard to get their sweet baby to sleep. Your baby is informed by multiple systems and factors when you put them down. Then consequentially, they can wake up from it. The vestibular system is responsible for providing information to our brains about our movement and balance, specifically head movement.
Additionally, it provides information about where our body is in space to help us stay balanced and stabilized through movement.
Why it's good for your baby’s brain
By 5 months in utero, the vestibular system is one of the first senses that is fully developed. Our sense of spatial orientation is provided by the information received by this system. This system knows when our balance is altered or a spatial orientation has changed. Then it tells our brain about the movement.
The proprioceptive system is a continuous feedback loop that between sensory receptors in the body and our nervous system to tell us how our bodies are moving.
Speak to a nurse
Proprioception tells us where our body parts, specifically our trunk and limbs, are in relation to other body parts, the rate and timing of movement and the movement of our muscles and ts. Think about it — if you close your eyes, you still know where your left foot or right thumb are in relation to your other body parts and even in relation to the environment, you are currently present in, even though you cannot see them.
Due to proprioception, we can move freely without having to think about each movement our body makes. Such as walking down the hall — do you think about each movement? Also, my left foot needs to…. Through the sensory input from their inner ear and the sensory receptors in their skin, muscles and ts, otherwise known as their vestibular and proprioceptive senses, your baby knows where their head, body and limbs are in space and in relation to each other. They also know when their bodies are moving, and when their position has been changed. So yes, when you put your baby down, no matter how gently, slowly or calmly, their brains and bodies know you put them down.
Through sensory inputs from the skin, ts and muscles their proprioception tells them their body is in a different place in relation to their environment. Some people are more sensitive to vestibular changes.
S your child is ready to transition to 1 nap
Think about someone who gets easily motion sick from spinning around twice versus the person who can spin around and around without feeling dizzy or sick at all. However, their proprioception is present at birth but still immature.
As the system becomes more mature and baby becomes more aware of where their body and limbs are in relation to each other, it could lead to baby becoming more sensitive to those movements. Then when baby is put down, it can trigger them to wake up.
Avoiding having to put your sleeping baby down will help prevent wake ups from being put down. There are many paths to help baby fall asleep independently in their sleep space. However, it can be a confusing venture to determine what is best for you, your baby and your family. I help families every day go from the frustrating up and down of baby waking up when they are put down to being able to lay baby down and have baby peacefully fall asleep. Hi I would like my 7 month old son to fall asleep on his own, our current situation is during the day he will only sleep in my arms and during the night he will sleep in his crib.
Hi Emilee! Helping him learn to fall asleep on his own in the crib by putting him down awake will help him not wake up when you put him down and will also help him sleeping in the crib during the day if this is your goal. When you put him down awake you can be supportive, responsive and there for him.
There are lots of different methods and strategies to do this. If you are interested in chatting more about how I can help, you can schedule a free discovery call here: sleeploveandhappiness. Hi, what is the earliest age you can realistically expect to start to teach a baby to fall asleep independently?
I have never managed to get me 7wo to sleep without feeding or rocking and she wakes as soon as she is put down. Hi Chris! You can really start with independent sleep skills from the very beginning, although it is challenging. The more practice she gets the more she can do it. That being said, feeding and rocking to sleep is normal at this age and she can always learn independent sleep skills later.
If you have any questions or want to chat more, please feel free to reach out!
My son is 9 weeks old. He seems to have very long awake periods of 3 hours then will nap on me for 2 hours or more 3 times a day. When I try put him in his bassinet, he wakes straight away. Nothing works — he wakes straight up and is very active with his arms and legs while crying.
If I keep trying to settle he gets overwhelmed. Not sure what to do!! Any advice? Hi Lillian! Ugh, I know how frustrating it is when he wakes up every time you try to put him down. If he falls asleep in the bassinet, it can help him stay asleep there. Hang in there! Hi, my 8 week old only sleeps for minutes when put down but will sleep up to am hour in my laps. So during the day she hardly gets2 hours if sleep. Night time is better she goes hours at a stretch.
Please help!!! Hi Grace! Ugh, I know those super short naps are so frustrating but awesome to hear that things are going pretty well at night! Keep in mind she is still very young so some contact naps during the day are appropriate and can help increase the total daytime sleep. You can also try putting her down sleepy but awake and soothing her there if needed to help her fall asleep in her sleep space. This can help her sleep longer there.
Who s awake and wants to chat, south chica who friend awake for and
Hi Bonnie — my 4. This includes nighttime which I know is ill-advised. I pick him up and rock him, stroke his head, shush, etc etc and he sometimes falls back to sleep, but never for more than a few minutes. Hi Katie! Ahh, how frustrating and exhausting.
Continue with the bassinet practice, it will help — it can just take awhile to pay off at this age. When you know he is about to his normal wake time, you can go in there and try to soothe in bassinet to avoid full wake up.
You can also try to soothe in the bassinet before picking him up.
Anyone still awake and fancy a chat
While he is not ready for formal sleep training, there are definitely some sleep shaping things we can do to help get him sleeping better and in the bassinet. It will get better! Hi my 5 month old baby boy fights sleep everytime we struggle to get him to nap through the day he falls asleep on his bottle most of the time not sure how to get him to sleep on his own we have a white noise machine playing we we try.
Hi Josh! Naps can be so hard! At 5 months between hours of awake time is typically what I recommend. There are lots of different ways to help him learn how to fall asleep on his own.