I have heard this statement so many times, “My baby won’t fall asleep for anyone but me!” and it is usually followed by a really sad face, possibly a tear or two and then a longing look of desperation and help. I figured since I have also felt like this, there must be many many more frustrated moms out there. So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions to help your little one go to sleep for someone other than you, and hopefully save you some sanity and anxiety.
What to do when your baby won’t fall asleep for anyone but you
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Bedtime assistant: Before you have someone take over completely, have them shadow you. This could be Dad or granny or whoever. Not that they don’t know how to put a baby to bed, but this is a win win for everyone. Your child will see there is someone else around at bedtime, so she will be more comfortable when you are not there. Your shadow will learn exactly what you do for bed. Even when you write down the schedule (I talk about that next) you might miss something that you do because it is not something you think about.
Schedule: If you don’t really have one with your little one, you should get on one now, before someone else comes in to help. You need to pass on that schedule to the person who will be putting the tiny person to sleep. And I mean right down to how long it will take to calm and soothe her. Is there a bath? A bedtime bottle? Whatever the routine is, let that person do it.
Stay out! I know this is hard (believe me, I know this is hard!) If someone else is going to be putting little one to bed, and you are practicing while you are still there, you can not, let me say that again, you can not go in and help soothe your child. I know it sounds awful and evil, you may even shed some tears of your own, but stay out. Going in is not helping and only prolonging what you need to happen. You are teaching your little one that it will always be you to show up if she cries long enough. You might need to go for a drive yourself for a little bit. With the beauty of technology these days, you can always text to see if it is safe for you to come back. This is an absolute MUST if your baby won’t fall asleep for anyone but you!
The Baby Whisperer: If all else fails and your baby still won’t fall asleep, you can read this book by Tracey Hogg, it is from 2005 so it is not very old, and many have said her techniques work. You can find it on Amazon. Basically you have a consistent bedtime, everynight (well that would make it consistent now wouldn’t it). This may take some work, but I have heard that after about 3 days, all is well with the world. The basic idea is that you lay your tired babe down, if she cries, you pick her up, soothe her, pick a key phrase like ‘It’s ok, I am right here’, lay her down when she stops crying, if she stays quiet, leave the room. If she cries again, pick her up, soothe her, put her down. I said it would be work! I haven’t done this personally, all I can go by is what I have read about it. It is worth a shot right?
All mother’s have gone through this at one point or another in their mothering roles. It is one of those times that makes you want to pull all your hair out and change your identity. You start to wonder ‘Will this child ever go to anyone but me?!’ The answer is yes, she will, just give it some time and try some of these techniques.
Do you have a method you have used to get your little cherub to go to sleep for someone other than you? Please, by all means, share your secrets with the rest of us in the comments section below!