How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Without Being Held? 

As babies grow more aware of their environment, a common behavior they exhibit is refusing to sleep unless they are being held. We all love connection as it provides warmth and a feeling of safety. How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Without Being Held? Babies often feel safer and more comfortable when they are being held.

Baby care can be exhausting and it can leave you feeling short of time. When babies sleep, you may get a bit of time to get back to some of the things you could not do while they were awake. So having to deal with a baby that would not sleep unless they are being held can be frustrating.

We will explore why babies do that in this article as well as how to get your baby to sleep without being held.


At What Age Do Babies Sleep Without Being held?

Newborns are used to the warm atmosphere in the womb. Holding them while they sleep can recreate this feeling of safety and warmth which makes them comfortable and induce sleep. To effectively manage this, you need to understand that this is not a habit exhibited by your baby alone, it is a common thing among newborns.

With time, babies may naturally outgrow this phase, aided by developing self-soothing skills for deep sleep. Parents can help by encouraging self-soothing actions like finger sucking.

In some cases, babies sleep by themselves without demanding the extra comfort of being held. But as they grow older, things change and they start to face difficulty sleeping resulting in a desire for connection. Habits like this tend to fade with time.

The maturing of their circadian rhythms come with an increased desire to sleep by themselves. This also makes their sleep patterns more stable and they are more likely to sleep for longer during the night as opposed to during the day.

From 6 months, you can start sleep training to speed up their transition to sleeping by themselves. You can do this by establishing a consistent bedtime routine and sleep hygiene. By 8 months, most babies start to assert their awareness of self and their independence by being able to fall asleep and sleep comfortably without desiring or needing extra support or comfort.

Hitting developmental milestones like rolling can trigger clingy phases in babies. While some babies can sleep alone, others wake when left alone. Pay attention to their unique needs to understand their proximity requirement.

Around 8 months, separation anxiety can lead some babies to struggle with falling and staying asleep without being held. Manage this by laying them down, staying nearby, and providing gentle comfort like patting.


What Do You Do If Your Baby Won’t Sleep Without Being Held?

Holding your baby all through their sleep is not a feasible option for most parents. Many parents with babies who prefer being held while they sleep often ask what they can do if their baby won’t sleep without being held. There are a few things that can be done to manage this. They include:

Maintaining a Consistent and Soothing Sleep Routine

The establishment of a consistent and soothing sleep routine can help your baby to sleep without needing you. Start by fixing specific sleep times. Instead of holding your baby before they sleep, lay them down and lay by their side. You can try patting them slowly till they sleep. Ensure to wait back for a while to ensure they are deep sleeping before leaving so you don’t wake them up.

Use Alternatives

If your baby only becomes calm and sleepy when you hold them, you can try alternatives like rocking to sleep or swaddling. Once they become calm, lay by their side and keep patting or shushing till they start sleeping.

Conducive Sleep Environment

A conducive sleep environment can provide the comfort your baby needs to stay asleep. Ensure the bedding are soft and of a comfortable texture. Set the room temperature correctly so the room is warm and cozy. Also, ensure proper lighting so that the room is dim or dark.

Use White Noise

The environment in the womb is what most newborns are used to. Using white noise machines to mimic these sounds and shut out background noise can help them feel safe and calm enough to sleep.


It is a common belief that lullabies are best for toddlers but it can be helpful in getting babies to sleep. You can play gentle songs in the background or sing to them. This can make them sleepy and help them fall asleep.

Stay Close Without Holding Them

When babies are tired and trying to get some sleep, they can sense when no one is close by. This can trigger feelings of insecurity and make them feel unsafe. You can stay close to your baby or lie next to their crib till they fall asleep.

Simple Exercises During The Day

Depending on your baby’s age, simple exercises like tummy time and rolls during the day can help promote sleep at night.

Heed To Their Cues

Babies become cranky and cry when they are tired or feel sleepy. Your baby may show other unique cues. Pay attention to these cues and let them rest or sleep as soon as they exhibit signs of fatigue or tiredness.

Read Also: Signs your Baby is Overtired, Ready for Sleep


Why Does My Baby Wake Up Every Time I Put Them Down?

There are many reasons why your baby wakes up every time you put them down to sleep. Sometimes it’s because their sleep cycles are short. This is common in babies who feel unsafe or were too tired before being put to sleep.

It could also be from the startle reflex gotten from the sensation of being laid down. Some babies are very sensitive to being abandoned and may wake up or start crying as soon as you let them down. It may help to stay close till the baby is deep sleeping before leaving.

A desire for warmth or comfort can also lead to this. When babies are held and close to their caregivers, they feel safe and protected. This feeling may fade as soon as you lay them down and they can sense being alone. This can make them wake up every time you put them down.

If you practice sleep routines like rocking or swaddling your baby to sleep, change in motion can be startling hence waking them up. You can incorporate patting to these routines. After rocking, lay them down gently and stay close while patting them till they are deep in sleep.

It’s also common for babies to develop associations with certain conditions like being rocked or swaddled. Once they sense changes, they may wake up.

Also, if the baby was in the light sleep phase when they were laid down, they are very likely to wake up immediately. Hunger and digestion discomforts, such as gas and bloating, can hinder baby’s sleep. In your arms, they find comfort, masking these issues.

Growth spurts and the teething phase may make babies more needy and comfort seeking. During these times, they are more likely to be unable to sleep for long by themselves.


How Do I Get My Baby To Sleep By Itself

There are simple things you can do to help your baby to sleep by itself. Feel free to try out the following:

Create a Sleep Routine

Routines help program your baby’s minds and help them associate certain moments with sleep time. The more they get accustomed to a routine, the easier it is to get them to sleep.

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

The sleep environment directly impacts comfort and babies are more likely to sleep by themselves when they feel comfortable. Choose the right bedding, set the temperature right and ensure the room is dark.

Feed Well Before Sleep

Hunger can make it difficult for babies to sleep for long periods. Ensure they are well fed during the day to reduce night time feeding.

Keep Environment Calm To Avoid Overstimulation

Babies are very sensitive and can notice little changes in their environment. Keep the noise out and reduce conversations in the rooms where they sleep. This would help them stay calm and fall asleep easily.

Be Consistent With Their Bedtime

It is not enough to have a sleep routine. You have to stick to it for optimum  results. Try to plan your activities around their bedtime so you can always stick to the set times.

Consistent Nap Time

During the day, set nap times and stick to them. Nap times help babies get needed rest during the day. When they are not too tired at night, they would not be restless and would fall asleep easily.

Avoid Engaging In Play At Night Time

It is not uncommon for babies to wake up and at night and try to create activities. Avoid playing with them in order to signal that it’s time for sleep.

Read Also: Baby Massage For Sleep



Babies adjust differently, and receptivity to new routines varies. Try to be consistent and be patient with them as they adjust. With time, they would become independent enough and would not need your presence to sleep.