TL;DR: My son will sleep fine on his bed for about 3-4 hours then will only sleep if held. How do I fix this if we aren't wanting to go through Cry It Out?

Loads of context:

  • my son is 6 months old

  • sleeps on a floor matress in his own room

  • not yet mobile

  • can roll from belly to back, but not visa versa (yet!)

  • sleeps almost exclusively on belly

  • can sleep for 8 hours without nursing

The history: He was sleeping >8 hours on his own and without waking to nurse. Or might wake 3-4 hours in and be easily put back down after being held a few minutes. Both parents caught a cold and my son had a bad sleep night, and we let him sleep on us. Since then (3 weeks) he has refused to sleep unless held when he wakes up. He started waking up after about 1-2 hours, then we discovered he was teething. We have given acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed but he still wakes 3-4 hours in and requires cuddles to sleep and wakes up upon being put on his mattress. Additional doses of acetaminophen (after 4 hours) have only helped once, allowing us to get him to sleep on his mattress again. Ibuprofen lasts 8 hours, so no additional doses were given.

Questions: Should we treat this as part of teething that he will grow out of, or as a behavior that we have taught him and must train him to change? Or both...

If training, what methods would you suggest, considering that we are not up for pure Cry It Out

Should we wait for teething to be done before sleep training?

  • What is the longest you've let him cry? Does he ever stop crying after being put down?
    – Marisa
    Dec 26, 2017 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


I would agree with you that "crying it out" seems cruel. You have had a blessed course over the first five months. Most parents find babies to be exhausting. Also teething alone doesn't explain all of his behaviors.

You have several other options:

1) Move his floor mattress into your bedroom. Most children are legitimately frightened not knowing where their mommy and daddy are. Just the sound of your breathing may be enough. Try putting him back in his room every few weeks or months

2) Have a parent sleep in his room, switching each day or mid-night. This gives at least one parent uninterrupted sleep but will obviously affect intimacy in the short term. The advantage is you can try to withdraw the parent from your son's room every few days with some reasonable expectation of success.

3) Move your son into your bed. This is remarkably common. I have never heard of a child squished or suffocated; although, someone falling out of bed is a concern. This probably works the best for your son's sleep but perhaps the worst for your own.

4) Have your child evaluated by his pediatrician. Your problem is too common to be syndromal, but it can't hurt

5) Your son may be hungry! Try supplementing his diet. Six months is a little young, but the parent police won't cite you for a trial of rice cereal or yogurt.

Good luck!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .