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My parenting vocabulary is quite limited, and Google Translate can help that much. Hope you understand me anyway.

Our son had colic for four months, he is ten months now. The colic resulted in bad sleeping habits. Well. He sleeps well when he finally goes to sleep. But getting him there is a challenge.

The thing is that he is quite active when he is awake and everything seems to be game to him. Sleeping is no fun according to him.

We've tried to put him in his bed when he is almost asleep, but it's like letting a bomb go off. He is suddenly 100% away and starts playing in his bed.

What we do is to go and rock (might not be the proper verb) him until he fell asleep. It can take from five minutes to an hour, which can be quite frustrating.

Any suggestions?

Update

I used a middle approach. The last two times I've got our son to sleep in five minutes.

He is old enough to stand in his cradle, which made it hard to just put him down and go out from the room. What he did was to just stand and wait, and then stand and scream/cry. He can do that for a long time and as I tired parent I gave up.

We have always used the same routine every night (and almost the same time every day) and that didn't help much.

What we do now is to just sit next to the cradle with him in our lap. He can mess about all he want as long as he is lying in our lap. We do not talk or look at him. If he tries to stand or do something, we just lay him down again. It works much better than trying to mess with him in the cradle. And it works every time. First week took about an hour each time, so five minutes feels like a victory :)

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Related: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/127/… –  Beofett May 4 '11 at 18:33
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This one is more about staying asleep, rather than falling asleep, but the advice may still be helpful: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/7/… –  Beofett May 4 '11 at 18:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Many parents face this issue around this time. Basically there are two approaches:

  • So called CIO (Cry it out)
  • No crying

The idea of CIO is that children need to learn to fall asleep on their own which might require a little crying in the beginning. There are several books describing this approach with some variations: Ferber (Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems), Marc Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child) and others. They suggest putting the child to bed and leaving him alone, coming back to soothe at certain interval (3,5,7 minutes or every 5 minutes with intervals getting longer everyday). I suggest reading the book first before starting this approach because it gives you an understanding of why you are doing certain things which makes it easier to hear baby crying. Usually it takes less than a week to get the baby to fall asleep on his own. These books also advocate set schedule, early bed time and naps.

I am not familiar with second approach so can't talk about it.

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We used CIO with our son after he had a long spell of illness and was used to us coming to his rescue whenever he cried. All it took was one unbearable night of leaving him alone for 7 minutes at a time, laying him back down and repeating. After 3 hours he gave up and went to sleep, next night he was back to sleeping normally. It is important that it must be the same parent who goes in, if you alternate or swap at any point it can start the whole process again. –  Richard Benson May 5 '11 at 12:36
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I'd like to expand on Richard's comment to say that it's important to not leave the child alone for long. A handful of minutes works well in my experience, but I've heard horrible stories of hours-long isolation causing psychological trauma. Unfortunately I have no reference or data on how long is acceptable though. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun May 10 '11 at 6:36

The best thing I ever did to get my (once colicky) 4 month old to sleep well at night was to establish a very rigid nighttime routine. She now goes down at 7pm, wakes up once at 3am, and then sleeps until 7am. Glorious!

Here's my routine to give you an idea. - If my husband is home from work he strips her down to her diaper (she loves being naked) and entertains her while I prepare her bath. If he's not home, I strip her down and leave her on the bed (she doesn't roll around yet) to hang out while I get the bath prepared (I can see her from the bathroom!). - I alone give her her bath. It's a very calm time. I barely talk to her. I wash her (I always wet her hair, but I only wash it every other day) I pour water out of an old yogurt container for a while and then let her try and hold it and stick it in her mouth. I use the same yogurt container every night. - Depending on how tired she is, the bath lasts anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. - I dry her off on the bed, plug a soother in her mouth, and get her dressed. - I put on her white noise (Simply Noise (pink) sound app if you're interested) just to get the right mood in place. - I breastfeed her. Normally she passes out on the boob, but not always. - Asleep or not, I then swaddle her (with her arms out, she busts out otherwise) and plug her soother in. - Then I stick her in her crib (awake or asleep) and walk away. - I dillydally around near her crib...put away the towel...pick up some laundry...whatever keeps me close but not engaging her. - Then I leave. If she makes a fuss, I go in a couple of times and plug her soother in. Sometimes sing her fav song. I NEVER pick her up.

I used so much detail in my response because I've found that keeping things EXACTLY the same down to the most minor detail is what makes our bedtime routine effective. You can use your own variations of course because your baby is older. But it took my mom showing me how to give my baby a routine for me to fully grasp how to do it so I'm just passing it along :)

As for naps, I'm working on that. She got so used to sleeping in my arms it's a struggle getting her to sleep in her crib for any good length of time and I'm still trying to figure out a good nap routine. We shall see!

Good luck!!

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Welcome to the site and thanks for the detail - glad to have you on board. –  balanced mama Dec 11 '12 at 18:15

If you don't like letting your baby cry, The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley gives a lot of background on sleeping problems, and offers a number of different strategies for helping babies and small children sleep. Anecdotally, her strategies seem highly effective.

If you can find a translation of that book into a language you know, I highly recommend it.

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