For an already tired mother, dealing with a crying baby can be exhausting. If your baby cries when put down consistently, you’re probably ready to try nearly anything to break the habit. Luckily, there are plenty of tried and true options for dealing with this situation, helping your child, and regaining your sanity in the process.
Strategies for Babies Crying When Put Down
Know You’re Not Alone
It’s incredibly common for infants and toddlers to have a strong attachment to parents, especially mothers. Infants will need some time to feel comfortable with detaching from their mother. Because they are helpless without a parent, babies need consistent assurance and love to feel safe and cared for.
In many instances, when your baby cries when put down, especially when it’s time for sleep, it’s because he wants to feel close to you and can only express that need through crying. When you’re parenting a brand new baby, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the responsibility, the amount of time required to care for an infant, and the lack of sleep that comes as a result.
Remember that many parents deal with the same struggles and that the issues you’re facing won’t last forever. Then, give the following solutions a try.
Crying it Out
There’s a great amount of controversy surrounding the idea of crying it out versus picking up a child each time she cries. For those who are willing to try the detachment strategy of letting a child “cry it out” many parents have shared their experiences online.
Those who have used the method go through the nap time or bedtime routine, then leave the child in their sleeping space, undisturbed. Assuming that all of the child’s needs are met, she might be crying simply because she knows that’s the best way to get your attention. Many parents swear by letting the child cry themselves to sleep.
Of course, if the crying continues for a longer period of time or if the child sounds like she’s in distress, a parent should intervene. The hope is that the child will become independent more quickly and learn to soothe herself.
For those babies that absolutely won’t sleep unless they’re being held, baby wearing can be a good compromise. Products like baby slings and carriers are generally used for excursions outside of the house, for parents to carry their children without holding them.
However, the products are also a great way to allow parents to keep children as close as possible while freeing up the hands and allowing parents to do other activities while the baby sleeps. Many parents suggest baby wearing and say that their children are satisfied just by having their parents’ warmth. These parents are able to run errands and do chores around the house without waking up the baby.
Create a Calming Routine
Babies have very different sleep habits and patterns than adults. Understanding those patterns and working with them can help to get your child to stop crying when it’s time to sleep.
It can take up to 20 minutes for a baby to fall into a deep sleep. That means that when a child is first put down, he can easily be woken up again. Work on creating a relaxing routine to help your child to calm down before falling asleep. Spend some time rocking together, turn on quiet and calming music, and dim the lights in the room.
If your child falls asleep while you’re holding him, stay put for a while until you’re sure he’s deep asleep. Eliminate distractions, including loud noises and checking in frequently, to keep the calm environment going and prevent waking him up.
Try a Swing Seat
For many children, the warmth of being close to a parent is what helps soothe them. For others, it’s the rocking motion that most parents make when holding a baby. In the latter case, a swing seat can save the day when your baby cries when put down. A swing seat keeps the baby safely tucked away in a comfortable position in a cozy seat. The parent can then turn the seat on so that it gently moves back and forth. The motion will often calm the baby, so they’ll stop crying and become relaxed.
Take Turns Holding
If your baby needs to be held at all times, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he needs to be held by you. Try taking turns with other adults in your child’s life. When you have visitors (your child’s grandparents, close friends, etc.) they all most likely want to hold the baby, right? Let them. Giving others a chance to hold the baby will also give you a chance to take a break.
When someone in your support network says they want to help, they most likely genuinely mean it. Let them know that they can help simply by taking a turn with holding the baby. If you want to visit with your friend or family member, have them sit with the baby in the kitchen while you do dishes or cook dinner. If you’re exhausted, ask them to spend some time watching a movie and holding the baby while you take a nap. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Let the Baby Sit Up
For babies that are very attached to their parents, they might cry every time they’re put down, even when not to go to sleep. This can be an extremely frustrating experience for the parents who need to get back to day to day life without a child in their arms constantly.
We’ve already gone over baby wearing, but there’s another solution that can work wonders. Try finding ways to keep your baby sitting up. Bouncy seats are excellent for keeping children occupied and active. If active isn’t what you’re looking for, have your baby sit in a highchair.
With both of these solutions, your child will be safely strapped in so you’ll be able to move around the room without fear of your child falling or getting hurt.
Remember that many parents deal with the same problems you’re facing: the baby crying when not held. Give our suggestions a try and ask other parent friends what has worked for them. Soon, your baby will become more independent.
My name is Kristi and I’m the mother of 3 beautiful angels, and founder of Intelligentmother.com. This blog was created in order to share experiences in baby care and health care for pregnant women.