The title says it all.

When our son falls asleep on our arms, putting him in his crib always wakes him up like it's 3 PM, no matter how gently we put him there.

Any tips to avoid the waking? Am I asking a question that inherently has no answer?

asked 14 Feb '10, 23:54

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

How old is your son?

(15 Feb '10, 02:02) Fun2Dream

+1 great question!

(15 Feb '10, 04:52) Emi

@Fun2Dream, 4 and 1/2 months

(15 Feb '10, 14:26) JJJ

I used to have this problem too. Then I read a bit about infant sleep patterns from Dr. Sears' book "The Baby Book."

Here is a quote:

It's time for baby to go to bed. His eyelids droop, and he begins to nod off in your arms. His eyes close completely, but his eyelids continue to flutter, his breathing is still irregular, his hands and limbs are flexed, and he may startle, twitch, and show fleeting smiles - called sleep grins. He may even continue a flutterlike sucking. Just as you bend over to deposit the "sleeping" baby in his crib and creep quietly away, baby awakens.

After reading this passage I thought to myself, "That's exactly what happens to our baby!" The following is a list of tips from Dr. Sears' book and from my own experience. Before moving your baby to his bed:

  • Wait for the sleep grins to stop.
  • Wait for the fluttering eyes to stop.
  • Wait until he stops sucking his thumb or soother/pacifier.
  • Wait for baby to be breathing deeply and regularly. (When my baby is in a deep sleep, I have noticed that his belly will rise and fall. But when he is in a light sleep his chest will move when he breaths.)
  • Wait until his limbs are limp. (When my son is in a deep sleep, if I pick up his arm and let go it will fall. If he is still in a light sleep, he might pull away a bit when I try to pick up his arm.)
  • Lastly, I try to move his body as little as possible when taking him to his bed. So, I may lean over a bit to hold my body against his while we walk to bed.

Sometimes I may have to wait for 20 minutes until he is in a deep sleep. But, if I wait for the above signs of deep sleep, I can even move my son from his car seat into his bed.

Good luck!


answered 15 Feb '10, 01:02

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

+1 - Great answer! We also use Sears' technique and it works wonderfully most of the time. :)

(15 Feb '10, 02:03) Fun2Dream

+1 really nice answer!

(15 Feb '10, 04:50) Emi

I would like to add a more specific hint to the last bullet point: when moving his body, try to move the child very slowly when moving him/her from the vertical onto his/her back. If you move too fast, it may feel like falling backwards, which can cause waking up again. It helps to keep the child against your body until nearly horizontal.

(15 Feb '10, 08:15) brandstaetter

Yup, wait until they're limp like little wee wet noodles, and then cuddle them down to the mattress. Worked on all of my babies. Most of the time.

(16 Feb '10, 06:05) Neen

I'm of the camp where you should put them to bed while still awake, but you could try warming up his crib with a hot water bottle before setting him down - the temperature change from your warm arms to his crib may be what's jarring him awake. Good luck!


answered 15 Feb '10, 05:31

Kate's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%

+1 good point about temperature!

(15 Feb '10, 07:03) Emi

Good tip, it's summer here and it's really really hot, so that's not the problem for us :)

(15 Feb '10, 14:27) JJJ

I think every child is different. With my one son nothing works, with my other son, if I rub his back for a few minutes after laying him down, he'll fall back asleep. I'm curious if anyone else has a really good suggestion for this issue....


answered 15 Feb '10, 01:00

Shannon%20B's gravatar image

Shannon B
accept rate: 9%

+1 for gentle back rubbing! We used to do this too, our daughter is 5 and a half and we still do this if she has woken up for one reason or another!

(15 Feb '10, 04:48) Emi

I find that if I hold a blanket over him and myself for a few minutes, then transfer him with the blanket, he transfers better - I assume due to the warmth.

If he's still stirring, I'll hold a hand on him and put my face close so he still has the contact and sounds of me breathing, as though he were still on me.


answered 16 Feb '10, 01:54

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%

I had success with rocking my daughter side to side in my arms. She was also swaddled or wearing a Sleep Sack, to help keep her warm. I would continue with the rocking motion as I slowly lowered her into her crib. When she reached 6 months, I started putting her down quickly to help her learn to go to sleep on her own. That was the tough part, but it didn't take her long to self-soothe and fall asleep.


answered 16 Feb '10, 02:47

Nancy%20B.'s gravatar image

Nancy B.
accept rate: 0%

We had the same problem with our first child. I read that lowering them back-first triggers the sensation of falling which can wake the baby up. I started lowering her into the crib sideways and then rolling her on to her back at the last moment. It's not a scientific experiment but it did seem to help a bit. We also used a heating pad to pre-warm the mattress as per another of the answers.


answered 22 Mar '16, 11:44

stannius's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

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Asked: 14 Feb '10, 23:54

Seen: 8,750 times

Last updated: 22 Mar '16, 11:44