HELP BABY TO FALL BACK TO SLEEP IN HER CRIB - for crib sleepers (No-Cry Sleep Solution)

When baby wakes at night, do what you normally do to help her fall asleep, but slowly decrease the length of time you spend with this "back to sleep" routine. Try to put baby down drowsy but not completely asleep. If baby gets upset when you do this, start your
"back to sleep" routine again and repeat as needed. If baby uses a pacifier, bottle, or breast to fall asleep at night wakings, see Pantley's Gentle Removal Plan.

Remember to distinguish between sleeping sounds and awake noises. If baby is making noises when he is sleeping, let him be. If he is making noises that signal that he needs you, go to him.

If you or baby get overly upset with this process, Pantley suggests you put baby back to sleep in your usual way and try again at the next waking. Changes will take time and effort. Be patient!

Possible phase-out plan. This is just a suggestion. Do what works for you and your baby:
1) Comfort until baby is almost asleep. When baby wakes up, go to her. Do your "back to sleep" routine until baby starts to fall asleep. Then stand and rock and sway while you place baby in her crib. Keep your hands around her when you place her in her crib and gently rock her for a few minutes to help with the transition. When she seems settled, remove your hands from around her. If she starts to stir, you can use your soothing words, music, rocking, patting etc to help calm her. If she starts to cry, pick her up and start the process, beginning with your "go to sleep" routine, over again. When baby is comfortable with step 1, move to step 2.
2) Baby's settled and sleepy. When baby wakes, do your "back to sleep" routine with her until she gets sleepy rather than when she starts to fall asleep. When you put baby in her crib, help transition her by saying your soothing works, playing soothing music, patting her, etc. If she starts to cry, pick her up and start the process over again. When baby is comfortable with step 2, move to step 3.
3) Comfort without pickups. When baby wakes, go to her but don't pick her up. Try to comfort her in her crib by saying your comfort works, playing soothing music, patting her, etc. Say your key words as she falls asleep. If she starts to cry, go back to step 2 or step 1, and repeat as needed. When baby is comfortable with step 3, move to step 4.
4) Soothing pats. When baby wakes, go to her but don't pick her up. Comfort her like you did in step 3, but do it more quietly and try standing by her crib and saying your key words. If she cries, go back to step 3 or step 2 and repeat as needed.When baby is comfortable with step 4, move to step 5.
5) Verbally soothing baby. When baby wakes, stand in her doorway and say your comfort words. Turn on music if it helps. If baby cries, go back to a previous step and repeat as needed. When baby is comfortable with step 5, move to step 6.
6) Comfort from outside the doorway. When baby wakes, stand outside her door way where she can't see you and say your comfort words. If baby cries, go back to a previous stage and repeat as needed.

Related Post:
No-Cry Sleep Solution, The: Sleep Solutions for Older Babies (4 months to 2 years)


  1. Hi, just found this blog and love it. Just wondering if you have any tips on how to wean baby out of being swaddled? I have a very spirited 5 month old and will be going back to work soon and he will be going to nursery so I need to get this sleep situation sorted, but it is an absolute nightmare and I have PND as well so finding it very hard.

    He just lays there and flails his arms about and pulls him dummy out and plays with his teddies (which I put there as sometimes when its touching his face it seems to comfort him). I don't think he realises he's supposed to be going to sleep as he has always been swaddled.

    I've tried laying him on his front to sleep, PUPD, holding his arms by his side, stroking his face, kissing his face, calmly talking to him and nothing works, holding his arms works after he's cried for a bit but then he tends to wake when I let go or 10 mins later.

    When hes swaddled 9 times out of 10 he just turns his head to the side and falls asleep (with his dummy).

    I'm really going out of my mind!

    Also tried to gradually do it by letting one arm out at a time, or tucking him in the sheets, this is just as bad.

  2. Have I got to just stick with it and it will gradually get better? He gets so overtired as he just refuses to go to sleep the whole day so I just give in and swaddle him. Today he has spent the whole day trying to sleep and its 2.30pm (UK). Yesterday was particulary bad and he ended up having to go asleep in my arms which he hasn't done for ageeeees.

  3. Em,

    Sadly, the main thing that is going to help is time. It sounds like he might benefit from being swaddled for a little longer (since it sounds like he still flails his arms around so much-although this may improve when he has more time with his arms unswaddled) but with you going back to work soon this probably isn't possible. Plus, he'll probably start to roll around soon while swaddled, if he isn't already, making swaddling not very safe anymore.

    One thing you could try continueing to swaddle, but slowly decreasing how tight you swaddle so he gets used to not feeling tightly swaddled. I would also work really hard to make sure your pre-sleep routine (see link in index) is very well established for nap and bedtime. That way he will have many signals outside of the swaddle that will let him know it is time to sleep.

  4. Hi Rachel,

    I'm dealing with a nearly 10 month old baby girl who 1. can't soothe herself to sleep and wakes frequently. 2. Is dependent on her pacifier and rocking and bottle feeding to go to sleep or go back to sleep.

    I'm going to tackle one process at a time and was thinking of doing the "helping her fall back to sleep by herself" first. Then once i have this mastered, then try the removal of her sleep props.

    My question is, for the fall back to sleep guidelines, do i try each step over several nights, then move on to step 2, 3 and so on? Or do i do each step moving on to the next, with each waking every night?

    Also, she attends daycare and takes 2-3 short (less than an hour) naps each day. How can i get her on a nap routine while attending day care? She falls asleep about the same time each day, but I'm wondering how can i help to to sleep longer while at day care?

    Your help is much appreciated!

    1. 0f61b81a-f880-11e2-b5c6-000bcdcb5194-
      You'll do each step until baby is comfortable with it before moving onto the next step. That's what this method suggests, some also suggest decreasing attention/increasing distance every few nights. They all work in their own way. There's a lot of preference in there.


  5. I'm working on this method for my 9mo old daughter it's been a very slow process. She sleeps through the night now which is fantastic and if she does wake she self soothes herself back to sleep. Im just still working on the process of getting her to sleep.
    We've gotten to step 2 now and she's getting to the point I can lay her down drowsy but eyes open although we just got here so it sometimes takes several attempts to get her to stay laying down.

    But one thing that still throws me is the steps talk about if she cries to start over. She has never cried at any part of this process. Instead what happens if i lay her down too awake she gets up, gets wound up and very awake. So I have found in the earlier stages if I wait too long between attempts she gets so awake it takes a long time to soothe her again. I'm starting to try not to pick her up so quickly but all hesitating does is make her more awake. I've tried laying her back down when she wants to get up but then she thinks its a game and starts to giggle and gets right up again.

    So typically once she starts to get up we go back to rocking just long enough to settle her again and I lay her down again. But lately I'm starting to question if I should be starting over just because she starts to get up. On one hand I can see how picking her up again soothes her again and gets her accepting to being laid down but on the other hand I'm beginning to worry that I'm just teaching her if she gets up I will pick her up every time. I've searched all over the internet and there just isn't a lot of troubleshooting information out there for this method and as much as I'd love to pay for consultation services the author advertises we can't afford that.

    Im not sure if by just continuing on this course she will just get more accepting of being laid down and stop getting up? The next stage is to not pick her up but then again it says unless she cries.... so I'm at the same dilemma because she doesn't cry so getting up and getting very awake is how i know to start over. So I don't know if I'm on the right track or if I'm hindering the process.

  6. What is the best way to help my 10 week old daughter learn to fall asleep without being held. For naptime we have yet to be successful with her falling asleep not in my arms at night occasionally we can get the awake but drowsy to work. I'm desperate for help

  7. Hello. I have an 8month old that is addicted to the boob to fall asleep. I started doing the pantely rental removal plan about 4 months ago. I started putting her down when she slowed sucking and usually 4/5 tries and I can put her down, she turns her head and sleeps.

    But I have never been able to get her to do down any earlier or less drowsy. Been trying for weeks now. Problem is that she's gone from sleeping to the night to waking up many Times 2-4.

    She also weighs almost 20lbs and my back is starting to kill me from picking her back up to repeat the process. I don't want to make her coo but I don't think I can physically handle this much longer.