Getting Baby To Sleep Alone
Frances and Stuart
On the other hand, a baby who routinely falls asleep in your arms or at your breast will need to find a nipple and someone to hold him at night to do the same. Many parents who prefer this way of saying goodnight to their baby are also happy to share their beds with them, so that they can easily recreate the evening’s sleeping conditions:
In the evening I undress Sophie, sometimes she has a shower or a bath and then we lie down in bed, read a story and then she holds my breast and falls asleep. I’ve had her in bed with me since birth. I did the same with Sam and Rosie when they were smaller too. ’
Clare, mother of Sam, eight, Rosie, five, and Sophie, two-and-a-half
But if you like your bed to yourself, it’s counterproductive to lull your baby to sleep in the evening with a feed or a cuddle – because you’ll probably spend a lot of the night in his bedroom doing the same thing again. If you want to spend your nights in your own bed with only adult company, sooner or later you’ll have to get your baby to go into his cot awake and alone in the evening.
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Sleep associations can take a while to learn. Especially in the early days, it may be difficult to identify a strategy that works. Sometimes, putting him in his cot and leaving him to it makes him nod off and at other times he can remain determinedly awake through all 25 verses of Oh my darling, Clementine’. Still, it is worth persisting with a structured bedtime formula that you like because eventually your baby will find the predictability of the formula reassuring and relaxing.