After effects of sleep training(15 Posts)
My husband and I went from picking our daughter up within a few moments of her crying to trying what we thought was some so-called 'gentle' sleep training for 2 consecutive nights. This took the form of us sitting with our daughter and patting her, shhhhhing her and singing to her instead of picking her up when she cried. She cried intermittently but pretty hard when it happened. She seemed only to derive limited comfort from our interventions. Eventually she fell asleep, exhausted, both nights. After the second night we decided not to do it again as it didn't feel right for us.
Since then, we've noticed that she is reluctant to smile at my husband. this is a big change.
Our worry is that she has truly been shocked out of her belief that we would always be there for her in the way she expects/needs and that she has been harmed by it. Of course it is upsetting that she has changed her behaviour towards my husband but the real concern is for what it says about what she experienced.
I know this is a contentious issue. I would be grateful to hear from anyone who has experienced something similar and whether things got better with time or seemed to have changed forever.
This is indeed a contentious issue. Hard to comment without fanning flames of some sort.
But I would say that unless it's been a good while with no smiles for your DH then don't worry, try to put the whole business behind you, and don't panic about either sleep or smiling. Trust your instincts with your baby and remember that they all sleep through eventually.
Thank you for a non-dramatic response. I think you are right that we should just settle down and give it a bit of time. It's definitely made me want to trust my instincts in future where our little girl is concerned. I probably could have predicted it not being the right thing for us.
We are doing the sush pat method and its tough, for everyone, however, I firmly believe 2 things.
1. It will pay off long term
2. If we give in it sends entirely the wrong message.
We love DD without question, however I have noticed that she will use her growing vocabulary of cries to get what she wants, and she has steely resolve
If the smiling behaviour changed in 2 days then sleep behaviour can be changed.
I know it's a huge debating point but I think that by consistent sticking to the method we have chosen gives consistency.
Whichever way people chose is the right way for them and hats off for sticking to whichever method they chose.
No one really knows the effects of letting a baby cry. You won't get a definitive answer from this thread, just opinions.
Parenting is about making decisions about what you feel is right for your child. You have many years of this ahead of you. You'll make mistakes along the way but you can't spend all the time worrying about it or you'll go mad!
Look on the bright side, you have found out something about your parenting style.
Firstly - how old is DD?
Secondly don't worry I very much doubt that your DD not smiling at DH is anything to do with what you did over 2 nights of 'gentle sleep training' - babies are resilient little things and lots and lots and lots of people let there babies cry whilst sleep training and the very next morning recieve a great big grin. Is there another reason - teething? unwell?
Sleep training is a very individual thing and so is parenting generally - no two babies or mums are the same.
I did sleep training with my DS but I found that if I stayed in the same room as he did it really infuriated him and made the crying worse as he couldn't understand why I wouldn't pick him up and he wasn,t going to self settle with me hovering over him. (same with PU/PD & gradual withdrawal method - sent him into a massive rage).
In the end it was much quicker for him (&me) and far far far less crying by just leaving the room!
You need to decide what you want and whether your at breaking point - if you are happy to keep rushing in everytime she cries then great you don't need to do anything, if not then try another method - but please don't beat yourself up that there are going to be long lasting repercussions (the evidence for this is extremely flaky and based on neglected children - and your DD definitely doesn't sound neglected)
Ninja - I agree with you about the consistency which is why I stuck with it despite my reservations at the time. Your comment about the growing vocabulary of cries definitely chimes in with my experience!
Tumble - you have hit the nail on the head about my having learnt something about my parenting style. i actually had that exact conversation with my DH afterwards, saying that in a way it is kind of a relief to have finally tried the sleep training and feeling now quite certain that it's not the right option for us and DD. Now I can stop debating it with myself constantly!
Mania - I had the same thought about it being more infuriating for DD to have one of us sitting there not doing what she wanted us to do rather than just leaving the room.
My DD is 8 months old. I'll probably I'll have to come back to thinking about sleep training at some point as we have developed all the classic habits you don't want your toddler to have - nursing/rocking to sleep, rocking/nursing in the night, coming in to bed with me for the first feed of the day, napping in the sling. Sigh.
8 months is still incredibly young. All babies are hugely individual, but I still think that it is about "needs", at 8 months, rather than about "needs". So don't despair, I don't think that she is into bad habits or is spoilt yet.
You are right to follow your instincts: parenting your individual baby is only something that you can know. It is about doing what works for both you and her.
Don't worry about smiles for your husband: if he gives her lots of cuddles and talks to her, she will soon come round. Babies don't naturally hold a grudge
Sorry, that should read "about needs rather than about wants" at that age....
Who says those are 'bad habits'?
I agree with QTPie.
When I felt I needed to encourage dd to self settle. I tackled naps first and was consistent about it. I found the nights got better on their own. It's somehow easier on everyone. I didn't leave baby to cry but I did stop feeding to sleep and used shush pay gradually putting baby down more awake. Structuring naps also helped. Just in case you want to tackle it again in a less stressful manner. Some seem to get there on their own. But we have some terrible sleepers in our family (at three years old! ) so I wanted to encourage her towards independent sleep which we did around five months. I think having the first feed of the day in bed with mum is lovely though and not a bad habit at all.
I think individual babies are so different that you have to try things to see what will work. With DS he gets distraught if he can see us and we're not interacting with him at bedtime. I tried Shh pat etc and PUPD and it was completely disastrous and exhausting and upsetting for all of us. The only thing that works with him at bedtime is to be left alone to settle off by himself. You tried something that didn't work, and so you've decided to change your approach. Don't beat yourself up about it anymore, as a PP said, babies don't bear grudges! As my mother said when DS was tiny, babies are incredibly fickle and mercurial, so the lack of smiling probably has nothing to do with anything, or she may be coming down with something. When DS was ill last week, he hardly smiled at all at anyone or anything all week, broke my heart! When he started chuckling again I knew he was on the mend!
Sleep training left DS distraught. We stopped after 5 nights of hysterical crying, and the result was a child who shook in fear when we went up the stairs as he thought bedtime was coming.
He was a bit older than 8 months though - something between 12 and 18 months if I remember correctly.
Anyhow, he is almost 7 now, the shaking and screaming at bedtime, and the desperate clinging to me went with time and reassurance, and he is a normal, happy, sleeps-all-night primary school child.
So even if you are noticing an effect, in the context of a loving home it will fade and all will become normal again.
There are children out there who become terrified and hysterical at being left, and cry into panic rather than crying-down.
We did experience something similar and DS did come around. So don't worry, I don't think you've done any permanent damage. Like QT said, babies don't tend to hold grudges
Thought you might like this book.
When you're bone tired it's easy to fixate on sleep, because it's what you dream of when you do manage to sleep long enough to dream..
Babies can suddenly become great at getting off to sleep and staying asleep of their own accord, and then there are some who will resist it to the point of exhaustion for a long, long time. There are parents who do the exact same thing with two different babies and 'succeed' with one but 'fail' with the next. Every baby has his or her own way of getting there, but they all get there eventually. By the time they are teens you will be facing the 'how much sleep is too much sleep?' question. Going with what seems to work nicely for everyone in your own family is the way to go -- there are no good or bad habits imo. Whatever works is 'good enough'.
There is no single parenting practice (apart from abuse) that will completely change your child's life or chances. One upsetting experience is not going to be the end of the world.
Join the discussion
Please login first.