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Our son's crib is in our bedroom, and he was mostly sleeping the whole night in his crib with no issues. Do to a series of events (power outage, spending the night at relatives with no crib, needing to lower the crib and not getting to it) he went a few days sleeping full time in the bed with us.

We have been unsuccessful in getting him to spend the full night in the crib. I put him in the crib once he is in a deep sleep, but within 45 minutes he is up and standing in the crib and crying.

Any ideas on convincing him to spend the full night in the crib. We have thought about letting him cry for a bit and then give up, but we both work and need to get some sleep, and neither of us likes to hear him cry.

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7 Answers 7

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The potential problem with putting him in the crib after he falls asleep is that he will wake up in a different place. I suspect that this is disorienting, and possibly causes him to become upset.

I would stick with putting him in the crib awake, and perhaps consider trying a variation of the Ferber method, similar to what @morah suggested.

Another possibility, which has worked for me, is to place a chair or stool by your son's crib, and sit there in the dark room with him after putting him to bed. Stay there until he falls asleep (assuming you are not trying the Ferber method), and then leave. This may or may not work, and could result in him waking up and responding the same as when you place him in the crib while sleeping, but it is worth a shot.

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We took the side off the crib ("converting to a toddler bed"), and pushed it next to our bed. Now we get our full mattress, yet the child is just a hand away. This is a middle option between "in the bed" and "in the crib" that worked for us, and might work for you.

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There are also commercial versions of this available, but check the CSPC site for various recalls.

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We had a similar problem, nothing we did helped, and I felt crying it out wasn't even a feasible option as she would, like your child, standing up and crying. There is no crying yourself to sleep if you are standing up.

So we simply let our daughter sleep in our bed. That worked fine until she became about 9-10 months old, where she decided that sleeping laterally was better and that the lack of space was easily fixable by kicking daddy in the face until he gave up and went to sleep on the sofa instead.

That situation was not particularly enjoyable, prompting this question.

The end solution was simple, and slightly surprising. Once she stopped breastfeeding, she suddenly became perfectly happy with sleeping in her bed.

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No silver bullet, but here is what my wife and I did years ago when our daughter had a problem much like this.

It took about a week, but worked. The first night, we stayed next to the crib and rubbed her back, she would cry, but as long as we were there, she would eventually calm down and fall asleep. Night two, the same thing, only start steeping away a little, so she can still see you, rub her back, step away. Night three, same thing... each night gradually step further away until you are putting her to bed and you are standing in the doorway singing or saying goodnight.

Young children need to be conditioned over time.

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This will take a lot of persistence and work on your part. You must be stubborn and convince your child that he is NOT going to get to sleep anywhere but the crib.

  1. Start putting the child to sleep by rocking on a chair or walking around with him. DO NOT put him to sleep in your bed. He might try to break free from your hold as he is crying - do not let go. Hold him tightly, and let him know that you love him and that he must sleep. Our daughter used to crib, call for the other parent, but be patient - sing songs - and believe that the suffering won't last long :)

  2. Once he is asleep, put the child in his crib. (Some people prefer putting the child to sleep awake, but this works best for me.)

  3. If he wakes up in 45 minutes crying, repeat the cycle. Take him to the rocking chair, and wait for him to fall asleep again. Back in the crib.

The first time you do this, it might be very frustrating so do it on a night where you don't have work the next day. (Friday night?) The important part is to convince your child that no matter what happens, he is NOT going on your bed.

The next night, should be easier, but might still be long. But within 3 days, he should get used to sleeping his crib. He should be convinced, that no matter how much he cries, kicks, or does, that he will eventually end up back in his crib - and only his crib. NEVER give in and put him in your bed with him.

Also, purchase a portable playpen. When we are visiting relatives or travelling, we put our children to sleep in their playpens. They are very compact when folded, and secure like a crib for sleeping. If you don't want to kid sleeping in your bed, you must never force it do so either.

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+1 for portable playpen doubling as a crib when traveling. This made bedtime at relatives so much easier. –  nGinius Jan 15 '12 at 15:04

You can do some work during the day around helping him feel comfortable in his room and crib. There are many grounding exercises and activities that can help with this.

You can also start spending more time in his room during the day and even co-sleep in his room at night instead of in yours.

Once he has had some positive experiences in his room, you can start a coaching plan. This is basically a sleep training plan.

You will need to put him down in his crib awake at this point. It is key for him to know where he is and know how to fall asleep on his own. So that when he gets into a light sleep at night he is not startled because he is in a different location and so that he knows how to get back to sleep. It's a little like you waking up and finding yourself on the kitchen floor.

I would recommend trying one of the gentler sleep coaching methods.

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I know you said you tried it but letting him cry it out, especially at this age would be the way to go. It may take longer then you like as he can stand up to cry, but in the end it is worth it. We used to turn off the monitor and move to a part of the house we could not hear very well and just check every 10 min. to see if he was still crying and if he was turn off the monitor again and give it another 10 min.

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4  
Please note that other answers on this site indicate that "crying it out" is not a good approach. I think the very fact that you can't stand listening to the crying should tell you that it's wrong: if you as an intelligent adult don't like it, how do you think the infant is feeling? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 6 '11 at 19:55
    
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun just because you don't like something does not make it wrong. It is the best thing for the child even though it causes unhappiness. My children are happy, well adjusted, and feel loved even though I had them cry it out because it was the right thing to do to teach them what is best for them –  morah hochman Dec 6 '11 at 20:31
    
I agree that it's not wrong just because I don't like it, that's why I based my comment on existing answers. But I will admit that it likely works well in some cases. I opened another question to dive deeper into this. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 7 '11 at 8:56
    
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun That link was very helpful. It seemed intuitive that an infant can't understand independence and that crying it out would be bad for his mental health, but real data to back it up makes the decision easier. –  Alpesh Shah Dec 14 '11 at 15:18

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