questionHello – My 4 month old daughter Charlotte was sleeping through the night in a rock’n’play sleeper in our room by 2 months old. At 3 months, we wanted to transition her into her crib. It’s been a month and we are still having difficulty. She wakes several times throughout the night 5-6 times… she doesn’t seem to be hungry or upset, just frustrated that she woke up and wants her pacifier (which at this point has fallen out of her mouth.) If me or my husband go in and give her the pacifier, she will fall back asleep, but agian, it only lasts for another 1-2 hours before her waking up again so he and I are not getting any sleep and we both work full-time outside of the home. Even some nights when we were first trying to transition her, we would give in and put her back in the rock’n’play in our room and she was still wakeful. Because of that, I thought maybe it was a phase, but like I mentioned, this is now a full month of the 5-6 wakings each night and she has yet to sleep through the night like she previously did before we started the transition. Any advice you have would be very much appreciated.

answerWhat you are describing is a common problem known to experienced pediatricians as the “trained night crier.” All infants at this age will wake every 2-3 hours throughout the night. if they are unable to put themselves back to sleep they will cry until a parent does something that allows them to fall asleep again. That something may be replacing a pacifier or nursing or walking with the baby. But it becomes a crutch that the baby depends upon to be able to fall asleep. To fix the problem you have to get rid of the crutch. In your case that means that the baby needs to be put to sleep initially while she is sleepy but not fully asleep and without the pacifier. For several days, the baby will wake and fuss wanting you to replace the pacifier. You should check on the baby periodically but simply go in the room and reassure her very briefly without picking her up, feeding her or giving her a pacifier. Within 4 or 5 days she should develop the ability to put herself back to sleep without your help. The key is consistency. You have to respond to each waking episode the same way. If she senses that you may give in after a while, she’ll keep right on crying when she wakes up. Good luck!