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Ask Dr. Keane Your Own Question
Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1768
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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I have a 16 month old daughter that I have co slept with from

Customer Question

I have a 16 month old daughter that I have co slept with from birth. She does not fall asleep unless she is being held, in bed with me, or riding in the car. I really feel like she is far to old to still need that much help to get to sleep. I would love to get her to start sleeping on her own. Does anyone have any ideas on how to help her transition to a crib? I feel like at her age the cry it out method would be cruel, but I'm no expert.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 7 years ago.
Hi and welcome,

Although co sleeping is a popular and healthy practice it can be difficult to just stop especially at her age. There are "sleep system" books that you can buy that guarantee your baby will sleep by using their methods but a good old fashioned method works just as well and it's cheaper. What you can do is use behavior modification to get her out of your bed, and into a crib. It's not going to the easiest thing you do but you can do it. Yes, you were right on with the "cry it out" method, that's it and it isn't cruel at all. You could try other tactics like putting her in the crib and singing or rubbing her back, like Super Nanny does, but at her age she will revolt! So pick a day to start and don't look back, put her in the crib, give her a favorite doll or even one of your "tee shirts", something she can associate with you. Say good-night quickly and calmly and leave the room. She will cry and probably scream until she falls asleep (that's the hard part) not respond. She should cry herself to sleep. The next night, do the same routine, good night and leave. She'll cry again. Don't give in no matter how hard it is on you. Put some ear plugs or some ear buds in and listen to music, turn up the TV, just distract yourself from the noise, she will cry herself to sleep, consistency is the key. It may take three nights or five night or seven nights (not likely) but once she realizes that you are not coming in and picking her up she will get use to the crib and understand that this is her bed and all of you will have a better nights sleep. Because she is 16 months old you may take her to the crib during the day and let her put some stuffed toys in, tell her it's a game, what special toy can we put in today. Keep your voice light and happy,so she thinks it's fun.... If she sees you are excited it helps. It's a tough habit to stop since she knows nothing else but what she has experienced thus far. It will work. Good luck,( I used this method to stop middle of the night bottles for a 20 month old, took three nights, lots of angst on my part and fingernails bitten down to the quick and most importantly, a pillow over my head! But it worked). Good luck!
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
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