Why can't the baby be put down?

Have you ever wondered why it is sometimes so difficult to put a baby down without them immediately starting to cry? You're not alone - parents all over the world are facing this challenge, and there are deeper reasons that influence little ones' behavior.

First of all, it is important to understand that babies develop strong bonds with their parents in the first few months of their lives. The need for closeness and security is crucial for them. If you try to put your baby down, he or she will simply long for the familiar closeness and warmth that he or she is used to from you.

The evolutionary perspective:

Children are evolutionarily “programmed” to always seek the protection of adults. In times past, children left alone would easily have become prey to wild animals. This prehistoric imprint causes babies to constantly check whether they are safe. Back then, being alone meant helplessness and danger. Even though babies today grow up in safe environments, they lack this awareness. Constantly checking to see if they are alone can cause them to wake up frequently. If you would like to know more about this, we heartily recommend the great book “Understanding Children” by Herbert Renz-Polster.

Sleep phases and their length:

Babies sleep in sleep phases that can often only last 20 to 50 minutes. In the first months of life, they go through what is known as REM sleep, which is light and prone to disruption. After about 20 minutes they enter deep sleep. The baby hardly moves and breathes slowly. The deep sleep phase is followed by a lighter sleep phase in which it unconsciously checks whether the environmental conditions are still safe.

What can I do if my baby won't let me put it down?

  • Suggest movement: Babies feel safer when they are moved. Baby carriers, spring cradle, strollers or car rides can signal safety and allow the baby to sleep longer.
  • Wait for the deep sleep phase: Babies can often continue sleeping on their own after being put down if you wait for the deep sleep phase and only then put the baby down. This requires patience, but is an effective method.
  • Try co-sleeping. Your baby can sleep in bed with you if that is comfortable for both of you. This doesn't mean you're spoiling your baby, it's something completely natural (we'll go into this topic in more detail in the next article).
  • If the baby sleeps in its own bed, it's best to get it used to it early on: If possible, try to let your baby fall asleep in its bed without help from the start. This means that the conditions remain unchanged during the transition from one sleep phase to the next.

Helpful steps if your baby still wakes up tired every 30 to 50 minutes:

- Help with transition: Help the child master the transitions between sleep phases. At this stage, return to him, put him back in the original position, offer a pacifier or get the bassinet moving again if your little one has fallen asleep in the bassinet.

- Keep a log: Observe your baby's sleep pattern to recognize the length of sleep phases. This will help you to specifically address your child’s needs.

During the first year of life, it is normal for babies to wake up more frequently. The need for closeness and security is paramount. With understanding, patience, and the tips above, you can help baby feel safe and sleep longer. Even if it's very stressful right now, this phase will eventually pass and you will  Understand and support your child's sleep behavior better and better.

January 06, 2024
Tags: Babyschlaf