Q & A: A great sleeper who can’t fall asleep on his own

My four month old sleeps beautifully through the night (I am VERY LUCKY I know!) from about 10:00 until 7:45, then goes right back down after a feeding until 11:00 or 12:00. This is amazing but then he doesn’t nap at all the rest of the day, so he only gets about 12-13 hours total (because he is up for an hour for feeding and diaper change, slow eater). I have no problems with this,but would prefer he gets the recommended 14.  It is very hard to get him to sleep. I would like to get him to bed earlier but it takes so long, that it always ends up being after 10:00. He needs to be comfort nursed to sleep and put to bed asleep or he screams as soon as we put him in his crib. I have read that you can’t spoil a young baby and not to let them cry, so I end up picking him up and trying again and usually end up having to wait until he’s asleep to put him down. Two nights this week, I decided to try to put him to bed “drowsy but awake” but he SCREAMED for about eight minutes both nights, which was heartbreaking and made me feel guilty. I don’t know which is best — to nurse him to sleep or to let him figure it out on his own but have him so frustrated that he screams. Also, I have never once been successful at having him nap during the day other than the morning nap, even when he was not sleeping through the night. If I put him in his crib, he just screams, and if he falls asleep in my arms or while nursing, and I put him in his crib, he immediately wakes up and screams. He is a very light sleeper, he cannot be transeferred from one person to another or into/out of his car seat without waking and even wakes when I bring his car seat in the house and put it on the floor, if he falls asleep in the car.

Thanks so much,
Allison Blake

You are truly blessed to have such a great little sleeper! Teaching him how to fall asleep on his own, unaided, will only make things better. It is much easier to do this when babies are young, so four months is the perfect age to start. Try creating a routine that you will use whenever he goes to sleep at night and also during the day for naps. (Nursing, book, lullaby, sleep) Also try to stick to a schedule during the day.  After four months, babies tend to be awake for longer periods during the day, so if you help settle them into a predictable routine, you will feel more in control. You can refer to my site for information on how a schedule for a four month old should look. Good luck!

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