To refuse to sit with DS waiting for him to go to sleep

(38 Posts)
jasminum Fri 07-Feb-14 21:31:10

Right, I realise that this may be a contentious issue ..... but I really do want your honest opinions about what I'm doing.

DS is 18 months old and until recently I would sit in a chair in his room and wait for him to go to sleep before leaving.

At first this worked alright, DS was often asleep before I actually put him in bed and if not would generally fall asleep within 10 minutes. I also found it quite relaxing to sit in peace and quiet for a bit.

Fast forward a few months and he was taking longer and longer to fall asleep and would often wake up at the slightest sound I made when trying to sneak out. I had a couple of occasions where I was up all night because he wouldn't settle and I was actually hallucinating due to extreme fatigue.

So, I decided enough was enough and started a new routine where I would put him in his cot, put his nightlight/music playing thing on, wave and say night-night and then just leave. The first time I did this he cried for a few minutes and then went to sleep (I was going to go back if he carried on for more than five or ten minutes but didn't have to). Same the next night and now after a few weeks he sometimes cries a little bit but often just shuts his eyes and goes to sleep.

But, I still feel quite conflicted doing this, particularly if he gets upset as I'm on my way out. I'm not a fan of controlled crying unless it really is necessary and I don't like it when people do it with really young babies (6 months or less). But he really does sleep a lot better under the new system - he usually is asleep within 10 minutes and doesn't wake up nearly so much in the night. I also feel so much better as I am now able to get a full night's sleep most nights.

So, am I being mean or is this really the best way forward? I know lots of people carry on sitting with their DC and feel that is better but I just couldn't carry on as it was. I'm actually kicking myself for not doing this sooner as DS seems to sleep so much better than he did before.

Musicaltheatremum Fri 07-Feb-14 21:34:19

It sounds as though you are getting there to be honest so I wouldn't go back. Some babies cry as they're going to sleep and if he's happy on several nights then I would keep it up. I was fortunate that my 2 were really good at going to sleep once they got passed about 6 months (all kids are different) but I think you're doing really well. Enjoy the child free evenings.

LifeOfPee Fri 07-Feb-14 21:41:54

If it were me and and my son and he were crying I would go back in and comfort him, every time. However, if he's not crying but closing his eyes and going off to sleep peacefully and easily I'd quietly leave the room, go carefully down the stairs and then fist pump over a fucking awesome bedtime success!

FridgePervert Fri 07-Feb-14 21:42:01

I would keep at it, sounds better for everyone. They do sometimes give a protest cry because they don't want you to go/ don't want to go to bed but at 18 months he knows you're still there and haven't disappeared.
I think you're doing the right thing.

Sharaluck Fri 07-Feb-14 21:44:20

I think it sounds fine.

gimcrack Fri 07-Feb-14 21:45:53

It's fine, he's fine. You're a lovely mum for worrying.

Moggy72 Fri 07-Feb-14 21:47:01

There is nothing cruel about it. Well done, you are teaching a life skill - to be able to fall asleep on his own. A well rested child is a happier child. Nothing worse than a tired mum having to sit or lie with their DCs until they fall asleep, when all you want to do is unwind. Do not feel guilty. I used to lie next to my oldest DS every night. Was still doing it until he turned 4.

FridgePervert Fri 07-Feb-14 21:47:33

With mine they would sometimes have a grumble before falling asleep because they were tired, but you know the difference in the cries. The outraged 'how dare you put me to bed' cry is different from a distressed cry and it sounds to me if he is settled and sleeping in minutes he's not distressed.

Purplepoodle Fri 07-Feb-14 21:48:41

I think it sounds fine. He knows his cot, in his room, it's a safe environment for him. He's having a small cry because no child wants to go to sleep when they can play with mummy or daddy. I always give 5 mins to see if they settle as most of the time it's grumping and protest crying being outrage that you dare want them to go to sleep (even though they are exhausted, yawning and eye rubbing)

puntasticusername Fri 07-Feb-14 21:54:33

You've already got your answer in your OP - he's sleeping better on the new routine, and so are you. So you and he are doing fine. Sounds as if you've done brilliantly by setting up the new routine and sticking with it. There's no need to be a martyr and sit by him for the sake of it - save your parenting energies for times when he really does need you!

Onlymydogunderstandsme Fri 07-Feb-14 22:06:46

I think what you are doing is fine. I used to have to rock my DS to sleep and then started doing what you are doing. DS now goes in to his cot with no issues amd goes off to sleep on his own and ever since he has done that has slept through the night.

I have friends with 5 and 3 year olds and they still have to sit with them until they go to sleep as they have always done it. Each to their own though whatever works best for you and your child.

AnyaKnowIt Fri 07-Feb-14 22:09:18

That is cc isn't it? But if it works it works!

PurplePidjin Fri 07-Feb-14 22:20:36

My 15mo cries because he's awake confused he does it in the middle of the night too when he needs a nappy change/drink/calpol for his teeth etc. It's a very different noise to him being upset though, more of a moany shout than his piercing "something's wrong" wail. I have no qualms whatsoever about leaving him to moany-shout whereas piercing wails have me haring up the stairs!

Listen to what he's telling you; maybe like my ds he's just pissed off at still being awake!

scantilymad Fri 07-Feb-14 22:21:20

You are doing a brilliant job! Sounds like it is starting to do the trick and if you are both happy with it carry on.

jasminum Fri 07-Feb-14 23:06:51

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

I think I have read too many attachment parenting books and had got my ideas a bit skewed! Until I tried it, I was genuinely worried that a controlled crying type approach would somehow be bad for my DS's emotional well-being. There is a lot of material out there that tells you that you're somehow 'damaging' your child by leaving them to cry. I feel like a bit of a mug for not questioning it more before now.

I was pleasantly surprised by how easily he seemed to settle into the routine we're in now and I now think that sitting with him was causing him to be unsettled and to get hysterical when he woke up in the night and realised I wasn't there. I just thought I might be missing something as so many people prefer to carry on sitting with their child for a lot longer than I've done (there was a thread in 'Chat' about this the other day).

(Better not get too smug about DS sleeping better as I can hear him grumbling away now - just hoping it doesn't develop into full on screaming grin)

puntasticusername Fri 07-Feb-14 23:13:37

You're not a mug. The very fact that you're taking so much time and trouble to think about how to do this the best way for him, shows that you're a wonderful caring mum.

As you say, there are lots of different ways to do this and the most important thing is that you settle on the way that works best for you and your family. Don't worry overly much about what other people do, or about the opinions of those who are desperately keen to tell you you are doing it WRONG if you're not doing it the way THEY do it hmm

Fingers crossed for a quiet night!

jacks365 Fri 07-Feb-14 23:20:20

My dd does a grumble cry until I get to the bottom of the stairs then tucks herself back into bed and is asleep in minutes, she's 2 I'm not going to worry about that sort of crying but any other time I do attend her straight away.

Catsize Sat 08-Feb-14 05:43:07

We wait with our son until he is asleep, and sometimes it can take a while. If he wakes and cries, we go to him. Easier because we can snuggle in his bed rather than sit in a chair (he went into a single bed at 13mths after co-sleeping). Only thing I would query is whether your son actually is sleeping better, or whether when he wakes in the night he sees little point in crying. I know my nephew is like this (my brother and sil left him to cry quite early on). Either way, it seems to be working for you.

Crowler Sat 08-Feb-14 05:50:55

That doesn't sound like "Crying". It sounds like he's settling into his routine.

maggiemight Sat 08-Feb-14 06:00:29

I don't get all this sitting with them, DCs should be happy to snuggle down in cosy bed with cuddly teddy, I had second DC by the time DC1 was 18 months. I think you have been reading too much about cc, how can you have a happy home if DM is knackered - but I am of the previous generation of mothers and all my DCs are clingy, nervous adults - not

AnyaKnowIt Sat 08-Feb-14 10:00:27

Only thing I would query is whether your son actually is sleeping better, or whether when he wakes in the night he sees little point in crying

That's the point isn't it? To learn that once you are in bed you stay there and go to sleep.

softlysoftly Sat 08-Feb-14 10:27:41

Don't go back! DD2 is the same age and I have to rock her to sleep, then she gets in our bed around 1, then she cries on and off in the night and kicks us in the head and wiggles.

I am 20 wks pg and getting a different virus every week and we are all bloody exhausted, except for DD1 (4) who shuts her door and ignores the lot of us for a full nights sleep.

All because unlike DD1 (remember the one who wants us to piss off so she can sleep after a short period of "scratch back") I listened to alpha mummy, and others like them who said CC or gradual withdrawal like I used with DD1 at 16 months was evil and neglectful.

Well DC3 when they are born are getting a bottle of an evening and left to sleep angry

Innogen Sat 08-Feb-14 20:56:34

This sounds perfect, well done.

Pigeonhouse Sat 08-Feb-14 21:11:25

We stay with our son (as in, we take it in turns, not that we sit either side of his bed, as if he was the Baby Jesus in the manger!) and figure he will grow out of the need for it on his own, but what you do sounds fine to me, if it works for you all.

pixiepotter Sat 08-Feb-14 21:12:06

An older child or even teen will argue and procrastinate when you say it's bedtime.A baby can't do that so they do what they can-cry.It doesn't mean they are distressed , just pissed off because they would rather play.
However if you sit with them til they are asleep they associate you with sleep and don't learn to settle themselves.This gives rise to 2 problems.Firstly when they come to the surface during the night , they have to have you to get back to sleep.Secondly by the time you have had enough of sitting with them in the evening, be it at 3,5 7 yrs old they have a genuine fear of laying down to sleep by themselves in a darkened room.
sitting with babies while they sleep is not a kindness, it is the polar opposite.

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