Your baby cries, struggles to fall asleep, or wakes up all night. You're exhausted and getting desperate for some zzz's. You've heard about letting her "cry it out." It sounds a bit cruel, but you need some sleep. What do you do?
If your baby is younger than three months old, hold her and comfort her when she's crying. She needs the security, and it won't spoil her. If your baby is older than three months, there are steps you can take to help her learn to fall asleep and soothe herself back to sleep when she wakes up. If these steps don't work, talk with your doctor.
Steps toward better sleep
- Keep your baby awake during her usual late afternoon nap time.
- Start your usual bedtime routine. Bathe, change and feed her, but don't rock her or soothe her to sleep in your arms.
- Put your baby down in her own bed. Gently caress her and let her know you're there.
- Rub her back or sing to her. Reassure her that she can fall asleep on her own.
- Stay with her until she falls asleep in her own bed.
- Once she's asleep, quietly leave the room.
- Expect for the first night that she'll wake up every hour or so.
- When she cries for you, go into her room. Avoid picking her up, and don't turn on the light.
- Reassure her that you're there and she's OK.
- Make sure she's comfortable, and check the temperature in her room.
- Check her diaper. If it's dirty, you can change it while she's still in bed.
- Once you know everything is OK, leave the room.
- You can check on her after 5-10 minutes. If she's still crying, repeat the steps beginning with step 8.
- If she continues to cry, repeat the steps from step 8, adding a few minutes to each stretch of time before you check on her.
- Eventually she'll sleep. And so can you.
This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice. Only a health care provider can make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan. For more information about your behavioral health benefits, you can call the member services or behavioral health telephone number listed on your health care ID card.