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When it's bedtime for my 7-month son, it's always his mother who makes him fall asleep. When I try to get him to sleep so it ends with him crying.

Any tips on how to get him to sleep would be greatly appreciated.

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You might want to see my answer in parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/127/… –  Guillaume Sep 6 '11 at 9:02

3 Answers 3

Rocking, walking while holding, taking for a stroller or car ride and just lying down together all work well. Singing can be incorporated with any of these for better effect. I find the two most effective to be walking while holding the baby and taking them for a car ride.

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I ran into a similar issue with my daughter - every time I would try to put her to bed, she would just cry and cry and as soon as my wife walked in the room and picked her up, she would quiet down and go right to sleep.

We got through this by setting up 2 nights a week where it was my responsibility to put her down. It was not easy to begin with but I established a routine and followed that and agreed on certain conditions with my wife. The conditions for my wife were:

  1. When I was putting her down, my wife would not enter the room unless I came out and got her
  2. She would make as little noise as possible outside the room so that my daughter wouldn't look for her.

My routine has become...

  1. Ensure she had fed adequately, is in a clean nappy and that her room is warm enough
  2. let my daughter say goodnight to Mummy - a little cuddle and a wave goodbye and then a walk into the room and closing the door
  3. Sitting down with Daddy on a rocking chair together and reading a book
  4. Once the book is done, quietly rocking and singing until she falls asleep

The times she is most prone to crying are when I close the door and when I close the book. The crying upon closing the door often ceases once I distract her with the book. The crying after I close the book tends to go on for a few minutes and then stop altogether once she realizes Mum isn't coming.

This has worked for us 95% of the time. Sometimes she works herself up into a lather and no amount of rocking, singing, cuddling or attempted distractions will calm her down. This is often when she has had a very long day and is overtired. In those cases I give up and bring her out to my wife. I want her to be able to sleep with me but not at the cost of making her absolutely miserable.

I wish you luck, it is worth the effort to get your little one to fall asleep with you. It gives your partner a break and bonds you closer with your child.

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Are you not concerned that your step 4 will lead to you spending >1 hour each night in her room? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 20 '11 at 13:18
    
Not really, she seems to know that once the book is closed, it is time to sleep and she is normally out in 5-10 minutes. Occasional bad nights do happen but I feel much better about being there while she cries as opposed to leaving her on her own crying. –  oldNoakes Sep 26 '11 at 11:56
    
Sounds good! And if she does cry when you're not there, I am guessing that you hear it anyway. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 26 '11 at 12:03

You need to have ways to comfort your son that are uniquely yours. Create a special song for your son that you sing to him every day so he starts to recognize it as being just between the two of you.

Make sure you spend as much time as you can with him when he is awake so he feels secure being left with you. Hold him and give hugs and kisses, get down on the floor and play with him, and go places together without your wife. As the two of you bond more, it will get easier to comfort him at bedtime.

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