Hi, I'm Dana and it's time for this week's question. It comes from Linda, and she is wondering why does her baby wake up as soon as she lays her down in her crib.
I can remember feeling the same frustration when my first son was born. We would spend all this time rocking him around, and pacing up and down, and he would finally be asleepâ¦ as soon as I went to lay him in the crib, even if I went in slow motion and I did it in stages where I stopped and waited in between, I've tried every trick I could think of to fool him into thinking that he was still in my arms and get him into that crib.
If it worked, it hardly worked for any length of time and often it didn't. It was like he knew as soon as his back touched the mattress, bing, his eyes would open, and we would have to start the whole process over.
That was very frustrating until I learned what I needed to know in order to encourage him to sleep well, and when I discovered the fact that when people sleep, on some level, you're still aware of your environment, and when you think about it from an evolutionary perspective that makes a lot of sense, and we would have to know if we were in danger, if there was a predator nearby.
We do need to be aware on some level about what's going on in our environment. I think as mothers, we become even more tuned into what's going on in our environment when we sleep, sort of one ear is always listening.
If a baby falls asleep in your arms and then somehow you manage to get your baby to the crib, usually it doesn't last very long because as soon as they come to a lighter part of their cycle, they are going to realize, "Hey, wait a second, where am I? Why aren't you holding me anymore? Why aren't I in the place I was in when I fell asleep?"
I think when you think about it from that angle, it would almost be alarming too, you fell asleep on the couch and somehow you woke up in your bed, you would be alarmed by the fact that something has changed and wonder what's happened.
A lot of babies, if you watch them and they wake up, they wake up like in a startled response, they usually throw their arms out, sit up if they can, stand up if they can, and they are instantly upset because it's a frightening experience.
That's why it's happening. She's not trying to trick you or make your life more difficult. It really is just the body's way of handling the change in the environment.
The good news in all of that, is if you start to teach your baby how to fall asleep in the same spot, then you're going to have a baby that starts to sleep really well for both naps and bedtime.
Make that your goal number one, teaching your baby how to fall asleep. If it's the crib, great. How to teach that baby to fall asleep in her crib, so that when she wakes up partway through the cycle, or at the end of one, she is not alarmed, she has the skills she needs, she'll go back to sleep.
That will save you a lot of frustration in the long run because you won't have to do all this rocking and all the tricks and moves in slow motion, and memorize which floorboards squeaks and all that. You can just know that you can put your baby in the crib, she'll fall asleep all on her own and start becoming such a wonderful sleeper.