When Rocking to Sleep Stops Working

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  • July 03, 2014

Would you like me to 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!

Hi, I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady. Today, I’m going to answer Irene’s question:

“Dear Kim, I have a 10-month old baby. He used to be a good sleeper until the 4-month sleep regression. Things have started to slowly deteriorate in the last month following a sickness during a holiday trip. I’ve bought and read your book and I was all geared up to get started but I think that we might have entered in to another regression phase just this past week because now my baby is waking up every hour and more frequently in the early hours of sleep. We do have a bedtime routine and he normally is in bed between 7 and 7:30. He does however have a load of sleep crutches; a dummy, (a pacifier in the U.S.), being rocked to sleep, and white noise. My question is can I introduce the Shuffle during the regression or am I setting myself up for failure?”

There are several important facts that you gave me, Irene. Number one is that, yes, he could be having another sleep regression. We do tend to see that around the 8 to 10-month age period, usually when a child is learning to crawl, pull up, and walk. We will see that as well as separation anxiety. Although, I’m wondering if in your case it’s just that he’s getting smarter and he is on to you. You mentioned that he’s using a pacifier and you are rocking him to sleep. I actually don’t consider white noise a sleep crutch, especially if you are near a loud place with older kids, dogs, or neighbors and you have to screen out that sound. However, rocking to sleep and the pacifier are sleep crutches. Let’s look at everything in order:

 

Identify Your Baby’s Sleep Crutches

 

2 naps to 11. Make a decision about the pacifier. Are you going to keep it or you not? Does he know how to pinch it and put it back in his mouth himself? (He probably does at this age. If you are going to keep it, start by putting the pacifier in his hand first and then scoot it closer to him.

 

2. Stop rocking him to sleep. Use the Shuffle to gently wean him from rocking to sleep. Lots of times, the whole holding and rocking to sleep starts to wear off. Yes, I’ve seen it take a couple of years. But this is not an uncommon age. Babies start to figure it out like, “Oh, wait a minute. You’re going to rock me to sleep and put me down. And I don’t like that. I feel tricked.” And that may very well be what’s happening. I think that if you see that he’s pulling up during the day and if it seems like he’s not yet, then you’re ready. Go ahead and get started with the Shuffle. I would recommend that you read my 10 steps for sleep coaching success as well.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

Ask your questions on the The Sleep Lady’s Facebook Page where Certified Gentle Sleep Coaches are available for further help. Celebrate your successes, too, by sharing your stories with others!  Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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