Sleep training my six month old and really worried

(36 Posts)
Moominmamma86 Mon 01-Apr-13 22:38:56

I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to sleep and my six month old. Bless him, he's got so used to breastfeeding to sleep and I know I shouldnt have allowed him to build up that association so much but I didn't know how else to get him to settle. Recently he hasn't even been settling well with that and his bedtimes seem to be getting gradually later, with lots of toing and froing from the cot. I just feel I'm being used as a dummy which is getting too much, he is not getting the sleep he needs or learning to settle himself and my partner and I are ending up with no evening left.

Anyway, tonight after the usual bedtime routine (bath, feed etc) we put him down and he started to cry but instead of going to him we just... left him to it sad
It felt very sad to listen to him cry but once we started I thought we should follow it through and be consistent, or in a way we're just confusing him and being unkind. I didn't think it would take too long as I know he's tired but he probably cried for half an hour and turned himself right round in his cot.

I feel very bad now. Have I damaged him somehow? Will he feel we've abandoned him? What should we do tomorrow night? Stick with the approach as we've started now, or try something less hardcore? Please advise or reassure...

Pleasesleep Mon 01-Apr-13 22:58:41

Honestly?
Stop. Go and get your poor boy and cuddle him. I know its shit, I've been up to my 9 month old 7 times since since I put him down at 7 but that's just the way it goes. It passes. He is still very small, just a little baby who wants his mummy because then he knows he's safe.. Maybe its teeth? Or feeling poorly? Or coming up to a developmental leap? Ultimately, sleep can change drastically night to night at this age, for now I would just go with the flow. There aren't many children still being bf to sleep smile

Rockchick1984 Mon 01-Apr-13 22:59:10

Personally I'm incredibly strongly against leaving a baby to simply cry it out! Think of how you feel after crying for a long time - your head hurts, eyes sting, and generally you will not sleep very well, why would it be any different for your baby? Have a google of the no cry sleep solution, far kinder to your child. At the moment all you are teaching him is that there's no point crying as no one will come anyway sad

Weightlessbaby Mon 01-Apr-13 23:06:42

No, don't feel bad, he's most definitely not damaged and you've not abandoned hime, just helped him to learn good sleep techniques!

Not really in much of a position to help as DD was FF (and never really found milk a comfort anyway) and learned to self soothe from a young age. I know controlled crying is a bit controversial and can be extremely tough but I think you're definitely right to stick with it now you've started. So I would say tomorrow do your normal bedtime routine then gently but firmly tell your DS it's bedtime, put him in his cot and leave. From what I've read about CC it may only take a few days for him to learn to self soothe and half an hour isn't that long to be crying for the first night (also DD regularly gets into all sorts of odd positions at night - this morning she was stuck in a blanket with both legs in one leg hole of her jimmy jams, so I wouldn't worry about his thrashing too much!)

Sorry, not very helpful but I think you're doing the right thing and will hopefully get your evenings back soon.

BippyB Tue 02-Apr-13 05:24:15

From what I've read, and my own and friends' experience, crying it

This isn't controlled crying its cry it out. Read up a bit more on different approaches to babies sleep before you decide on what works for you. At this stage they change all the time. And don't worry about feeding to sleep. Whatever works, works. Cry it out at six mths is a bit harsh tho IMO.

BippyB Tue 02-Apr-13 06:02:08

From what I've read, and my own and friends' experience, the crying it out solution should take 3 nights to work, so now youve started, you might as well carry on. Did your lad fall asleep eventually? Did he stay asleep for long?

I don't think at 6 months it's really terrible for a child to be fed to sleep but you can start trying to slowly break the association. At around 7 or 8 months or so I stopped feeding ours in the night, so if he cried I would get up and settle him back to sleep, offer some water but no milk. Getting my partner to go and help him settle was also helpful as he didn't associate him so much with feeding. If you're worried about him being hungry in the night you could try and expressed bottle, as this will remove the association with bf to sleep.

Do you like crying yourself to sleep?
Thought not.

Go and give your poor boy a cuddle, and do some research into less stressful techniques.

LadyWidmerpool Tue 02-Apr-13 06:07:39

Six months is very little for cry it out. Other mammals BF to sleep and there are sleep inducing hormones in BM, so it's totally normal, but we have been conditioned to think BFing to sleep is A Bad Thing. If it isn't working any more I recommend The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley which suggests gentle ways of encouraging self settling. Six months is tiny and your baby won't understand why you are ignoring him.

HollyMadison Tue 02-Apr-13 07:08:31

Don't worry about BFing to sleep. It's not wrong and he won't be doing it forever. I second the No Cry Sleep Solution book.

Fairylea Tue 02-Apr-13 07:12:04

Why does it matter if he feeds to sleep ?? It's very normal for a baby !

Please don't let him cry.

Fairylea Tue 02-Apr-13 07:13:38

Also do you have an actual dummy ?? If you give him that at the end of the feed it might help.... ?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 02-Apr-13 07:17:40

I wouldn't leave my 2 year old to cry and cry all alone.

I think what you are doing is cruel, and yes there is evidence that it can be damaging.

Read up on the effects of raised cortisol in very young children before tonight.

I can't believe you've just taken away being fed to sleep and replaced it with nothing.

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 02-Apr-13 07:25:19

He's too young to understand why you've left him or even if you're ever coming back at that age. I night weaned at a year, but still offered comfort and now at 15months regularly sleeps through.

heidihole Tue 02-Apr-13 07:25:21

cry it out is much too harsh at 6months sad

nethunsreject Tue 02-Apr-13 07:27:47

There are much gentler ways of stopping feeding to sleep if that's what you want to do. Don't leave him to cry. If it feels wrong, there's probably a reason for that! Like above suggestion, no cry sleep solution is good. I know it's hard being sleep deprived so finding support for that will help you.

MrsHiddleston Tue 02-Apr-13 07:30:02

IMO far too young for cry it out. I can recommend the baby whisperer (you'll have to google), but not at 6 months.

lifesobeautiful Tue 02-Apr-13 07:41:10

Don't beat yourself up too badly - you're only trying to get some sleep which is very important for your happiness and your DS, and your bubba needs to learn to get to sleep eventually by himself too. Discussions on controlled crying on here always ignite fierce controversy....so don't take too many angry/outraged comments to heart. People anti-CC flock in angrily when anyone mentions it... Lots of people - professionals and those just desperate to get some sleep back have successfully attempted controlled crying. You haven't damaged him by doing that for one night.

If I was you I'd get a book about it - and try possibly a less strong method than crying it out. Although I do know some babies who were distracted by the return and pat type of method and did better when just left to cry a bit (and I don't mean hours of crying - I mean like 20 minutes).

I used to let my DS cry for a short while - like maybe 5/7 minutes, go in and rub his back and murmur softly to him, then leave. Then go back in, rub his back, etc. I didn't take him out of his cot unless he was really upset. And he's always been a brilliant sleeper. I just couldn't cope with the sleepless nights and not having an evening. Emotionally or physically. But I do think some parents don't seem to need as much sleep. I needed it! Good luck - and don't worry!

allchik Tue 02-Apr-13 08:05:25

I think its a bit harsh to call you 'cruel' your obv upset by the experience and to be fair I can understand why you gave it a go.
If you look hard enough u can find research to back up and argue any point,YOU HAVE NOT DAMAGED YOUR CHILD!
You could try breaking the link more slowly,leave for a few mins but if he starts sobbing go to him,dnt pick up but stroke down his nose making soothing noises,then after a wk go to him stroking his nose but make no noise etc.It may have come as a shock to ur son,this may ease him into it?
However,you need to do what you think is best. I use this method with my dd,dnt leave her if shes sobbing,n do sometimes cuddle her to sleep too cus we both enjoy it! My sister and many of my friends have done the hardcore 'shut the door and dnt go bk' method and all children are fine,good luck x

DIYandEatCake Tue 02-Apr-13 22:50:27

Dd was a dreadful sleeper at that age, for us the solution was only putting her to bed when she was tired enough to bf to sleep and transfer to cot without waking up, and then cosleeping from her first wake up. If it's any reassurance, her sleep improved and we stopped cosleeping when she was about 11mo, she also stopped bf to sleep and learned to settle herself happily, without us really doing anything. At 2 now she happily goes to bed about 8.00, sleeps through the night and wanders into our room between 7and 7.30am. Couldn't have seen that coming a year and a half ago! What I'm saying is don't worry about bad habits, do whatever keeps you all happiest for now. If that's sleep training then take a bit of time to do some reading and thinking first to get your plan straight, and go into it gently, 6mo is really too young to understand much.

NanoNinja Wed 03-Apr-13 21:56:45

Similar situation - six mo who breast feeds to sleep. But I have been getting a bit worried about it because I want him to be able to put him down for naps in the day without feeding or rocking. For past four days have been trying gradual retreat (not retreated much yet). It's a bit tedious, but it does seem to be working slowly. Don't have the nerves for anything involving crying!

MajaBiene Wed 03-Apr-13 22:07:05

Did you really leave a 6 month old to cry alone for 30 minutes? I find that really shocking to be honest!

I doubt you've caused any long term damage, babies are pretty resilient. But you have put him through a really frightening, upsetting and shocking experience. Try to see it from your little baby's position - he is utterly reliant on you and you just left him to cry until he was so exhausted he passed out with no idea where you were or if you'd come back.

Why not try something like pick-up/put-down? Even controlled crying is better than shutting the door and ignoring.

BeaWheesht Wed 03-Apr-13 22:08:18

Please don't leave him again, he needs you.

lifesobeautiful Wed 03-Apr-13 23:49:24

Read this advice from Mumsnet re: sleeping and various methods of controlled crying etc OP. You might get some good tips. And try not to get upset by angry comments (as the article says - CC is one of the most controversial subjects on Mumsnet).

Tons of people advocate varying methods of sleep training - many of whom are mothers as well as midwives and paediatric nurses. You haven't damaged your child. I know lots of kind, lovely, affectionate, warm and doting mothers who've used sleep training methods from as early as 6 months - and their toddlers are perfectly happy - and they sleep well!

http://www.mumsnet.com/babies/sleep-training-and-controlled-crying

MajaBiene Wed 03-Apr-13 23:58:13

The OP hasn't mentioned controlled crying has she?

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