How To Keep Your Baby Sleeping After You Put Them Down

It can be challenging to place a sleeping baby in their cot, but experts offer suggestions on how to do it, ensuring that your baby stays sleeping peacefully for longer durations. Learn how to keep your baby sleeping through the night with these expert tips.

You are not alone if your infant sleeps soundly in your arms but awakens when you lay them down (or even if they suspect you are about to lay them down). This happens all the time.

Some infants are particularly attuned to their environments, making them more vulnerable to things like loud noises, bright lights, and other forms of sensory stimulation. So, a sleeping infant is less likely to be disturbed when held in a parent’s arms. Also, the Moro reflex, which causes a newborn to wake up when their arms and legs start flailing, is suppressed while the baby is held.

Not to mention, it takes time for everyone, but infants, in particular, to acclimate to life outside the protective cocoon of the womb. It’s understandable that a baby would resist being moved from your warm, comforting arms into a crib or bassinet; after all, being held by you is much like being tucked into your own tummy.

When You Can’t Keep Your Baby Awake, Here’s What to Do

Establishing good sleep patterns early on is the first step in helping your kid fall asleep without you holding them. When caring for a baby who isn’t yet able to adhere to a more structured sleep pattern, it might be especially beneficial to keep a close eye out for signs of exhaustion and put them down before they become overtired.

Knowing that sleep is a learned ability and that babies may be trained to go to sleep without assistance after the first few months can provide some solace. If you want to teach your infant to sleep better, you should start by learning how to recognize the physical indicators that they are getting sleepy. This might be challenging when dealing with infants, but look out for things like:

  • There’s been an uptick in fussiness.
  • As if staring at nothing.
  • Crying

The optimal time to put your baby down for a nap or a sleep is when they are becoming sleepy but are not yet overtired and fussy. Although some parents may try to coax their infant into a deeper slumber by keeping them awake longer, research shows that overtired infants have a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep.

Also, remember that a baby’s sleep-wake cycle is still growing, so establishing good sleep habits now might help regulate melatonin, the sleep hormone, in a cycle that will make more sense as the baby ages.

The First Steps Towards a Crib

When moving your infant from your arms to the crib, a bassinet can be a good intermediate step because it is more familiar and comfortable than a crib would be at first. You can also use a bassinet to help your baby adjust to being separated from you by placing it near you. A second option is to swaddle your infant. It’s a calming routine that can help keep babies from waking up too early.

Once you’ve settled your baby into their bed or bassinet, the next stage is to resist the urge to rush in and save them the moment they make a sound. When your baby wakes up crying, stroke their tummy or speak softly to them before taking them up. If it doesn’t work, you can let your baby cry for 5–10 minutes to let off steam and try self-soothing (as long as you’re confident there isn’t anything else wrong, like a dirty diaper or hunger).

When this doesn’t work, pick up your baby, rock them, and try again. It’s best to be in the room with your infant while you calm them, but turn off the lights and don’t talk to them.

Babies may find the sucking motion relaxing, so you can try introducing a pacifier once breastfeeding has been established and your pediatrician gives the okay (if you’re nursing, of course). However, this is not advised for newborns because pacifiers may help them sleep through the night and prevent them from eating.

If none of these suggestions have helped, try not to panic. It’s normal for infants to need to be held to sleep at first. There is no such thing as hugging a baby too much; they are still getting used to life outside the womb.

Maintain a constant effort toward better sleep hygiene. The day will come when your baby can fall asleep without you holding them. By the time your baby is 4 or 5 months old, they will be more capable of self-soothing, and you can begin sleep training to help them fall asleep without assistance.

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