• Molly M, OTR/CSC

The Key To 'Drowsy but Awake'

Updated: Aug 4

What's the big deal, anyways?

Putting your baby down drowsy but awake means you're soothing him enough to get him 90% of the way to dreamland, but putting him down before he is completely asleep. Turns out, this is an essential component of teaching a child how to self-soothe and sleep independently early on. Piece of cake, right?


Almost nothing about baby sleep is a piece of cake, let's be real. So don't be so hard on yourself if this whole drowsy but awake thing just doesn't seem to work for you. I hear parents complain all the time that drowsy but awake just isn't achievable or is bunch of garbage.

Exhibit A: The Mom who tenderly places her 2 month old down for a nap in her crib after 20 minutes of walking, rocking, shushing, and patting, but baby wakes up with a blood curdling scream the instant mom's grip is released. Been there! It can be a real gut punch.

Start practicing right away. And keep practicing.

What parents need to know is that attempting to put your child down in a sleepy state but still awake is an art. Seriously. It isn't always successful every time. The key to putting your child down drowsy but awake is practicing this skill early on and not giving up if you fail. Because you will. Not every situation caters to drifting off to sleep seamlessly. Factors such as timing, the environment, and your child's temperament all play a roll in the ability to self-settle.

The practicing will help you feel more comfortable with the whole baby sleep process, because it can subconsciously reinforce prioritizing independent sleep right away, if that is your end goal. When parents successfully implement the drowsy but awake method for the first time, they often realize that they totally got this. You got this, too!

Consider this: Mastering the art of putting your baby down drowsy but awake (even just some of the time) so that he can learn self-settling skills is a precursor to you down the road being one of those parents who simply puts baby in crib and struts out of his room like a boss--with minimal fuss, fight, or crying. That can be you! #goals #worthit

This tactic can be practiced very early on, and should be. The drive to sleep is much stronger in babies 0-3 months old. From 3 months on, it can be challenging to 'pull the wool over' their little, engaged, adorable, and curious eyes. By 5 to 6 months, their little brains have developed enough that you can't trick them into a sleepy state as easily. They want to play!

So, don't even try pulling the drowsy but awake stunt on a 1 year old. Aint' nobody got time for that. And they'll just look at you like...

If you have a young babe, keep practicing! The earlier the better. If you have an older child and you think you've missed this boat, no worries. It happens. The good news is, other sleep training methods can help with self-settling. Book a consult with me here!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

©2020 by Sleep Logics. Proudly created with