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the crib sheet

Wait, where do I sleep? Teaching your baby how to understand where she sleeps and goes back to sleep

Elizabeth Nalle

Raise your virtual hand if you have ever done one or all of the following: woken up on the couch with no idea why you are there, woken up on the bathroom floor, the kitchen floor, or even someone else’s bed.  Usually as soon as you fully wake up you realize and remember how you got there.  Let’s be honest though that moment is quite startling to think you are somewhere and indeed you are not.  Usually you make it back to your bed and eventually go back to sleep (ideally).


At sleepy on hudson, we talk a lot about a phenomenon that we call ‘waking up on the kitchen floor’ when it comes to baby and toddler sleep.  As we believe that it is just as startling to wake up in your crib or your bed all by yourself if you remember quite well falling asleep with and on Mom or Dad.  We will get right to the point ... If you want your baby to sleep in his crib, then he needs to learn how to go to sleep and back to sleep in his crib.


Please know that when we were given this advice as mothers ourselves we knew it was right, but trust me we were not excited about the prospect.  It is daunting to think that you need to switch up a routine that might for the moment sometimes, kind of work.  Who knows, maybe it works for you, and you can transfer your baby no problem.  However if every time you put your baby down, she cries as soon as she hits the mattress, or is up 20 minutes later, then maybe it’s time to consider this next step.  


Here are some quick tips to teach your baby not only where she sleeps but also where she goes to sleep.


Have a clear routine with a beginning, middle and end before every nap and bedtime.

Have a sequence that you do with your baby as soon as you put him down.  Maybe you sing a song, rub a belly or shush 10 times - it’s your sequence do what works for you.

Don’t just do it one time (trust me you will want to give up).  Do it every time when you are using the crib for a nap!  Babies are fabulous students; they just need the lesson.

If you are worried about crying then start when she is already asleep and rouse her as she goes in and then shush or pat her back down.  

You can start small.  It is totally fine to start super super super drowsy.  Just focus on progress from there.

Make sure your baby is ready for this (and that you are too).  Every baby is different; however you can start this around 2 months on the early side or between 4-6 months -- really anytime!  Also this is great for a partner to do or a sitter if you worry it will be too hard.

Finally we love gear that can facilitate this process.  The Dockatot is a sleepy on hudson favorite, of course a good white noise machine, and maybe a crib soother or mobile?


If you need more individualized tips, you can find Lindsay and Brooke at


Good luck!