how do i stop my baby from crying in the crib

How Do I Stop My Baby From Crying In The Crib?

Your baby is sleeping soundly against you with a look of absolute tranquillity on that angelic face.

Surely this must be an appropriate time to set them to rest? You move as gently as can be so as not to wake them. You get to the crib.

You’re inches away from a successful mission. And then—in the plot twist of the century—your baby cries when put down.

We know. This isn’t easy. Whether you have a newborn or a toddler, the frustrations of bedtime can be real.

There’s no single answer to why babies cry when being put down. There are so many factors that come into play—one of the most significant is how long they’ve been on the planet.
Newborns spend about 50% of their time in REM—a sleep state that houses dreams and shows similar brain wave patterns to being fully awake.

As they shift from one phase of sleep to another, they might wake up or cry while still asleep.
They can shift between sleep stages multiple times, even within one nap.

There are all kinds of theories out there about the “best” time to put your newborn down according to which sleep state they’re in.

Some people have luck holding their baby until they’re in a deeper stage of sleep and then putting them down.

But your baby’s sleep state can be hard to judge, and just when you think the baby is deeply asleep and ready to be put in the crib, they transition back to REM and wake up as soon as they leave your arms. It’s tough, mama!

So why do babies cry when you put them down, and what can we do about it? Let’s dive in.

FAQs About Baby Crib

Tips on letting a baby cry it out

  • Look for your baby's cues that she's tired. 
  • Start your 30- to a 45-minute bedtime routine. 
  • Put your baby down in her crib every time. 
  • Always put the baby down while she's still awake. 
  • Expect some protest. 
  • Don't respond.

If your baby cries for you, experts suggest that you let her cry for a short interval of between two minutes and 10 minutes before going to comfort her. You can gently pat and reassure her while she's still in her cot or pick her up and put her down again.

It can be difficult to listen to a baby wail in their crib at nighttime, but a new study finds that leaving a little one to "cry it out" does not raise the baby's stress level and may lead them to get more shut-eye over time.

Practical tips for finding a no tears solution

  • Establish a regular nap schedule.
  • Put your baby to bed on the early side, such as 6:30 or 7 o'clock.
  • Make changes slowly. 
  • Find a soothing bedtime routine and stick to it.
  • Develop some "keywords," as Pantley calls them, to signal to your child that it's time for sleep.

Experts share that while various methods state you can start CIO as early as 3 to 4 months old (sometimes younger), it may be more developmentally appropriate to wait until your baby is over four months old. Some CIO methods go by a child's weight as a recommendation on when to start.


How do I stop my baby from crying when put down?

Knowing that all babies are different, here are some strategies you can take to help make putting them to rest a little easier.

We’ve broken it up by age group—but you may want to do a little mixing and matching depending on your specific circumstances.

What to do when your newborn cries when put down

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If your newborn baby cries when put down, here are some options to try:

  • Establish sleep patterns early on. As this long-term study of infant sleep revealed, sleep patterns generally start to set in from about the six-month mark. It helps to get into some routine before this. If your baby has a predictable sleep routine, it might be easier to put them down in their crib.
  • Swaddling for the win. Swaddling can give your baby a sense of comfort and security and prevent them from startling themselves awake as you lay them down on their back in the crib.
  • Rocking to the beat. This study proved something that mamas throughout the ages have been keyed into—rocking your baby to music helps to soothe them back to sleep. Add a swaddle to the mix, and you’re headed for maximum baby chill. A more relaxed baby might transition to the crib more easily.
  • Offer the boob or the bottle. Newborns eat as often as every two to four hours, and sometimes they can nurse for almost an hour at a time! You might think your baby is asleep, but just as you try to detach them from your body and put them in the crib, they start to cry because they’re still slowly finishing their meal. It might help to tickle your baby’s feet or blow on their face to keep them awake during feeds and make sure they get enough milk so that they’re more ready for a nap.
  • Home baby spas are all the rage. Who doesn’t love a relaxing massage? As it turns out, your baby might be a fan too. A baby massage can be a great way to soothe them, and you can do it while they’re in the crib to coax them into falling asleep and staying asleep there, hopefully.

A crying baby is trying to tell you something. Your job is to figure out why and what — if anything — you can do about it.

Over time you might be able to identify your baby's needs by the way they are crying. For example, a hungry cry might be short and low-pitched, while a cry of pain might be a sudden, long, high-pitched shriek. Picking up on any patterns can help you better respond to your baby's cries.

Consider what your crying baby could be thinking:

  • I'm hungry. Most newborns eat every few hours round-the-clock. Crying is a late sign of hunger. Look for early signs of hunger, such as hand to mouth movements and lip-smacking.
  • I want to suck on something. For many babies, sucking is a comforting activity. If your baby isn't hungry, offer a pacifier or help your baby find a finger or thumb.
  • I'm lonely. Calmly hold your baby to your chest. Gentle pats on the back might soothe a crying baby, too.
  • I'm tired. Tired babies are often fussy — and your baby might need more sleep than you think. Newborns often sleep up to 16 hours a day or sometimes more.
  • I'm wet. A wet or soiled diaper can trigger tears. Check your baby's diaper often to make sure it's clean and dry.
  • I want to move. Sometimes a rocking session or walk can soothe a crying baby. Or try placing your baby in an infant swing or going for a car ride.
  • I'd rather be bundled. Some babies feel most secure when swaddled.
  • I'm hot or cold. Add or remove a layer of clothing as needed.

Too much noise, movement or visual stimulation also might drive your baby to cry. Move to a calmer environment or place your baby in the crib. White noise — such as a recording of ocean waves or the monotonous sound of an electric fan — might help your crying baby relax.

What to do when your 4-month-old baby cries when put down

  • Reassure them every time you leave the room. What you do during the day can impact how things play out at night. If your little one is going through separation anxiety, the big challenge is letting them know that when you leave, you’re not going for good.
  • Know that this too shall pass. If your baby is going through a sleep regression, know that this will not last forever. If they are going through a growth spurt, it may help offer more feedings, so they’re nice and full when you try to put them down.

What to do when your 7-month-old baby cries when put down

  • Do nothing. We know. Crazy. But it's true. They may settle without you doing very much at all. But this one’s tough. Our instincts are to go to our crying babies. Recent research into how our brains react when we hear their cries has reinforced this.
  • Help them cut those teeth. Tooth pain might be the reason your baby is crying in their crib instead of falling asleep. If they’re drooling and biting a bit more than usual, this could be what’s up. Here are the symptoms to watch out for and what you can do to help them through this.
  • Look after yourself through all of it. You matter. It’s fine to reach out to others, get support, and do this together. 

How to Stay Calm When Baby doesn’t Stop Crying

All parents have been there. You’ve tried feeding, burping, and changing his diaper. You checked for fever. You even checked to see if his socks are too tight! Could it be gas? Is he too hot or too cold? Maybe he’s teething. Regardless, you’ve tried everything you can think of, and now you’re starting to stress. He. Just. Keep. Crying.

Some babies cry more than others for reasons we don’t fully understand. This doesn’t mean that you are doing anything wrong as a parent or that your baby doesn’t like you! Many parents have to cope with babies who cry a lot in the early months of life. If you have found yourself bouncing, patting, humming, or soothing a fussy baby, you are not alone!

It’s normal to feel stressed when babies cry.

A crying baby can rattle even the most level-headed person. Why? It has to do with the way our brains are wired. We feel a sense of urgency when babies cry. It’s almost like a fire alarm goes off in our brains. 

This is nature’s way of ensuring we do our jobs: respond to our babies’ needs and take care of them! But what if we’ve done all we can to help, and the crying doesn’t stop? Here’s what might happen for you as your baby continues to cry:

  • The “thinking” part of your brain shuts down, affecting your ability to be calm and think logically.
  • Your reactions may be panicked, meaning that you feel out of control and are not thinking clearly.
  • You may find it difficult to calm yourself down and regulate your feelings and reactions.

Babies tune into our feelings and reactions.

For better or worse, a baby tends to “tune in” to her caregivers’ emotional state. This means that when babies need us to be at our calmest so we can help calm them, we are often feeling stressed, frustrated and wound up! 

Our arms and shoulders are tense, and our facial expressions also may show stress. A caregiver’s stress can increase the baby’s stress and intensify her fussiness.

Calming yourself is job number one.

The first trick to calming your baby recognises that you are anything but calm. Take a moment to name how you feel (frustrated, angry, sad, rejected, etc.). After that crucial first step, here are some additional strategies that may help:

  • Put your baby down in a safe place (like a crib) and take a break. Give yourself the gift of a few minutes to calm down and attend to your own needs. It’s just like when you’re on a plane, and the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting your child. Make time throughout the day to feed yourself, drink enough water, shower, get some exercise, or call a friend. This kind of self-care will help you stay calm and self-regulated. When you are in a calmer state of mind, you can better help your baby.
  • Try taking deep, even breaths. People often breathe shallowly when stressed, so changing your breathing helps you feel calmer. Deep, even breathing sends the message to your nervous system that you are safe, which helps your body regulate. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try counting to 10 or putting your hand on your stomach as you breathe to make sure you’re taking deep breaths.
  • Sleep. Not surprisingly, parents who report having a baby who cries a lot also tend to be exhausted. Often, this exhaustion can’t be relieved by just one good night of sleep. Talk to your baby’s health care provider, or your own, if you are experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, sad, depressed, or unable to care for your baby. New parents need and deserve support.
  • Remember that your baby loves you but is having a tough time right now. Sometimes babies cry or are fussy for reasons we can’t figure out. But this fussiness is no reflection on your baby’s feelings for you! Your baby loves you and is doing the best she can right now. So, take breaks when you can, ask for help when you need it, and consult with your health care provider if your baby’s fussiness causes concern.

Things to Avoid When Sleep Training Your Baby

Feeding or Rocking Your Baby to Sleep

It's common to fall into this pattern because feeding and rocking your baby are pretty much all you're doing initially (besides changing diapers, of course). Since newborns need to eat every two to three hours and their sleep-wake cycles are so chaotic, they frequently doze off at the end of a meal. 

While your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb, falling asleep after feeding is just fine. "During the first few months, babies don't have any strategies for soothing themselves, and they don't form bad habits. But around four months, they mature neurologically and start to develop sleep routines.

At this point, feeding or rocking can become an issue if it's the only way you can get your child to fall asleep. Babies naturally wake up two to six times a night, which means that whatever you're doing to get them to sleep at bedtime, you'll need to do that same thing whenever he stirs. 

Solution for Sleep Training Baby

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Create a bedtime routine that will help your baby associate new activities with sleep: Bath them, put on their pyjamas, read a story, then dim the lights. "If the same thing happens every night, your baby will start to understand that sleep is soon to come. You want to put your infant in their crib before they get too sleepy so that they learn to connect going to sleep with being in their crib, not in your arms.

Picking Baby Up Whenever They Cry

Of course, you instinctively want to comfort your baby when they're whimpering. And for the first six months or so, you should go to them when they cry, so they know you'll be there—but ideally give them a few minutes to see if they settle back down on their own. 

However, as babies get older, they discover that they can use tears to their advantage. "A 9-month-old will remember that she made a fuss last night, and Mommy let her play until she fell asleep.

Solution for Sleep Training Baby

Run through your checklist: Are they hungry? Thirsty? Wet? Sick? If your baby is only crying because you've left their side, try the following strategy recommended by Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, a psychologist in Lake Forest, Illinois (it's based on the Ferber Method, a sleep-training technique developed by pediatrician Richard Ferber, M.D.).

 When you leave the room, set a timer for five minutes. If your baby is still crying after five minutes, return to them and reassure them they're okay, then reset the timer. Check back every five minutes until they're asleep. 

The next night, set the timer for ten-minute intervals. And so on. By night two or three, your baby should fall asleep more readily. Crying is part of how babies learn to calm themselves, and it doesn't mean you're neglecting her.

Extending Night Feedings

Like a passenger on a cruise ship, your baby gets accustomed to the midnight buffet, even if they don't need the calories. "He also gets used to waking up at the end of a sleep cycle and thinking he needs to suck and eat to fall back to sleeP.

You've probably found it easier to shuffle out of bed and feed them than to listen to their sobs. But once your baby is six months old—provided they're growing normally, and your pediatrician gives you the go-ahead—they don't require middle-of-the-night meals, even though they may continue to want them. 

And they'll probably insist. Loudly. "When you oblige, it just perpetuates the disruptive sleep," Dr Brown explains.

Not only will on-demand nocturnal snacks cut into your sleep time, but they can also affect your baby's daytime eating too. "It becomes a vicious cycle: Your baby gets so many calories at night that he doesn't eat much during the day, so he's hungry again at night. 

Continued after-hours feeding may even interfere with introducing solid foods.

Solution for Sleep Training Baby

Close the kitchen after the bedtime meal to motivate your baby to eat more during the day. To get there, you can gradually cut back on the ounces you're feeding them, or the amount of time you spend nursing. Or go cold turkey—and if you're nursing, let Dad put the baby back to sleep for a few nights.


Look, you’re one popular person right now. Your baby wants to be as close to you as possible. And their little instincts on this are good.

Recent studies have shown that being held by you can impact your baby right down to the molecular level. It may even affect their social interaction in preschool.

But while there are few things sweeter than this, it comes with some interesting challenges.

Separation anxiety is real.

Your baby doesn’t quite know that departures are not permanent. They want to be near you and are alert to your presence even while sleeping.

Plus, they are very sensitive to the smallest changes in temperature, even while they are asleep.

Transitioning from your warm arms to a cold, flat crib can instantly alert them to the fact that mom is putting them down and leaving the room.

Occasionally, warming up the crib with a heating pad (and removing it before putting the baby down) can help with this.

And there are even more possibilities that might come into play. Let’s take a look.


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