Last updated on April 3rd, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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Would you like to have me answer your baby sleep problem in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s video:
So in this video, I am going to answer Amanda’s question. She wrote in and said the following, “I would love some help. I have a bright, alert and happy six-month old baby whom I’ve rocked to sleep every night and every nap. I just started your sleep coaching last night for his bedtime as he started to continuously wake up throughout the night and I would have to rock or nurse him to sleep again. So I started putting him down to sleep by rocking before he was completely asleep. When I put him in the crib he promptly woke up and wanted to play. This happened tonight as well. I kept trying to turn him over as he sleeps on his tummy but I fear that makes him mad or stimulated. He’s just never fallen to sleep on his back before. Basically, I just sit next to his bed while he plays until he gets so tired, he starts to cry and then I pick him up and I put him back down like you suggest. That is what finally got him to settle and sleep but I fear it’s because I was holding him not because he put himself to sleep on his own.”
Amanda, you made some very good awarenesses on your own. I find that if a child is put down in their bed and they either appear revitalized or they wake up half an hour later, it usually means that they were put down to sleep too drowsy. I noticed that you said that you rocked him a little bit before you put him in and then he got all energized and ready to go. I recommend that you reduce the rocking. Have your night time routine before you put him in the crib with the light on. No, it doesn’t have to be 150 watt bulb but have your soothing bedtime routine with the light on, whether it’s singing a song or reading a book and kisses, then turn off the light and in to the crib. This is very important. I want you to put him down a little bit earlier in the routine and not tease him with a little rocking because you’re absolutely right, you can teach him to get really upset and hysterical until you pick him up and hold him to sleep.
The other thing is that if he knows how to roll himself over both ways independently, then I want you to stop flipping him over. It’s just like when a child learns to stand in a crib. I don’t want you to get into a physical struggle of putting him down and he stands up and you put him down and he stands up. It’s the same for flipping the pancake, okay? If he hasn’t mastered rolling, then increase floor time during the day and encourage him to learn how to do it on his own. You can even help him a little bit during the day so he can master it at night.
Let’s review the important points again:
Put him down more awake.
Don’t get in to a struggle about flipping him if he knows how to roll himself.
Don’t train him to cry until you pick him up and hold him to sleep.
Remember, if you pick up your child when they’re crying and they are immediately quiet, you got had. I’ve also worked with children who are rocked to sleep and they have this amazing ability which I still can’t believe…..they’ll cry hysterically, you pick them up and in under a minute, they fall asleep in your arms! I can’t even imagine doing that myself. I want you to be careful because if that were to happen you will have to take out of our tool kit “pick up to calm”. I don’t want you to train them to get hysterical, you pick them up, and then they fall asleep in your arms. So instead, you’ll have to do more shushing, patting and reassuring that way and no picking up which isn’t fun. As you can imagine I want you to avoid that.
I hope all those tips are helpful. Remember to stay consistent. This first week is pivotal.
Sweet dreams,
The Sleep Lady
Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have successfully helped your child learn put themselves to sleep without being rocked to sleep, please encourage Amanda to stick with it! Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!