How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Without Being Held

Are you a tired mom with a newborn baby? Taking care of a baby can be tough. The long nights of crying, their attachment to you, and their inability to sleep unless they’re wrapped up in your arms.
If you’re ready to train your baby to sleep without being held, you’re in luck! The process is far simpler than you might think.
All you need to do is provide your baby with comfort even when you’re not there. And, of course, establish a healthy routine.

Step 1: Get Used to Routines

Routines are your best friend when getting your baby to sleep independently. Setting up a routine for your baby will get them to sleep at certain times, whether or not you’re holding them.
How do you do that? First, get your baby up and awake at around the same time every day. A good way to do this gently is by setting their crib next to a window.
Child development specialists state that doing so will adjust your baby’s circadian rhythm, so they don’t wake up or sleep at awkward timings.
As a safety precaution, ensure that there are drapes or curtains covering the window.
When it comes to bedtime, do activities with your baby that induce sleep 2 hours before they’re supposed to go to bed.
For example, take a warm bath, play soothing music, and read to them. This is your way of letting your baby know that it’s time to go to bed even when you exit the room.

Step 2: Recreate the Comfort of Your Arms

Your baby loves sleeping in your arms because they don’t find any other place safer or more comfortable.
So, you can get your baby to sleep on their own if you show them that their crib is just as safe and comfortable as your arms.
You can do this through three things:
  • Keep the place snug
  • Keep the mattress warm
  • Add in a white noise
Letting your baby sleep in a snug place provides them the same comfort and safety they have in your arms. So, add in a few extra pillows in their crib or swaddle them for extra security.
Next, keeping the mattress warm will recreate the warmth of your hug. Do this by slightly turning up the temperature in their room.
When your baby is asleep, any sudden noises from the neighbors or anything else can startle them and make them feel unsafe. So, add white noise to damp out any of those noises.

Step 3: Put Them Down When They’re Drowsy

You’re probably used to putting your baby down when they’re asleep. Your instinct might be to carefully put your baby down, so you don’t risk waking him/her up.
Although it doesn’t sound wise, try to put down your baby when he/she is only tired but not completely asleep.
When you do this, you show your baby that sleeping outside your arms is okay. And, most times, your baby will be too tired to start crying.
The first few times, expect them to cry. Pick them back up when they do. Then, when they’re drowsy again, put them back down.
Eventually, your baby will fall asleep aware that they’re not in your arms. This will teach them that their crib is a safe place to sleep in.

Step 4: Use a Pacifier

Pacifiers are a great source of comfort for your baby while they’re sleeping. So, even if they wake up in the middle of the night, the pacifier will soothe them back to sleep.
According to several case studies, pacifiers also reduce the risk of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death).
However, don’t use a pacifier too frequently. Your baby might shift their dependency on you to the pacifier to sleep. So, use it on the tougher nights but don’t use it every night.

Step 5: Don’t Keep Them Awake

Your instinct might be to keep your baby awake, so they feel tired. However, when your baby is overtired, they’ll find it harder to sleep.
Since the exhaustion will over-stimulate your baby, they will be too bothered to sleep. So, make sure your baby falls asleep when they feel tired.
There are several signs that show you that they’re sleepy:
  • Three yawns or more.
  • Rubbing of eyes.
  • Lack of interest in activities they normally enjoy.
As your baby’s circadian rhythm adjusts, you’ll get used to a routine. Nap times will come naturally, and your baby won’t be too exhausted to sleep on their own at night.


When Should I Start Training My Baby To Sleep Without Being Held?

A newborn baby needs skin-to-skin contact right after they’re born and for some time afterward. The practice comes with many health benefits to you and your baby’s health.
So, it’s best to get your baby to sleep on their own when they’re four months or older. Before that timeframe, your baby won’t be ready to sleep on their own because they’ll still need you.
Try to also listen to your baby. If they’re being stubborn about not sleeping on their own, that’s your baby’s way of telling you they’re not ready.

Should I Let Them Cry It Out?

Letting your baby cry themself to sleep is a crueler option to get them to sleep on their own.
Some researchers go against the method since it increases your baby’s stress levels, while other researchers support it because it decreases the baby’s attachment to the parents.
Although this method leads to quicker results, it’s not the healthiest. So, it is advised to take it slow and ease your baby into it.


Getting your baby to sleep without being held is a lot easier than you’d imagine. All you need to do is reassure your baby to show them that their crib is a safe place to sleep in.
Try to practice “tough love” with your baby by putting them on a routine!
In no time, both of you will be sleeping soundly and waking up in the morning, ready to face the day.