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...

Rockchick1984 Thu 04-Apr-13 00:26:19

Lifesobeautiful there's a world of difference between controlled crying, and simply leaving a baby to sob alone for half an hour hmm

lifesobeautiful Thu 04-Apr-13 08:24:23

Sorry Rockchick - yes, you're right, there is a difference between controlled crying and the crying-it-out method. I meant sleep training, which is why I put sleeping, controlled crying etc. Should have been clearer.

DrGarnettsEasterMixture Thu 04-Apr-13 16:16:44

Hi OP, why don't you come over to the sleep board? Lots of good advice from people going through the same thing, with different methods of helping babies to get the hang of sleeping.

Pick up put down, gradual retreat and controlled crying are all different options-just leaving a baby is called crying it out.

6 months seems like a good sort of age to be starting to think about sleep training-I hope you find a method you're happy with, as I think crying it out can be tough all round, and there are gentler ways you and baby might be a bit happier with.

Rororowmeboat Thu 04-Apr-13 18:14:56

OP - you have not harmed your baby, do not worry. Do not feel guilty. Do not read any more messages after my one!

I did CIO with DS when nearly 6 months - 30 mins 1st night, 10 mins second and a grizzle on the third. My son was the same as yours breastfeeding and would only want me - it would take me hours of settling (& crying on his part to get to sleep).

Controlled crying, gradual withdrawal, pick up put down method and any other 'gentle' methods made him cry sooooooooooo much more than CIO. He would get infuriated every time I put him down, edged away from him, everytime I went back in the room - he would roar and I would be back at square one.

In the end we did CIO when I was at the end of my tether and really unwell and I just couldn't try and settle him anymore - it was the best thing I did. I felt terrible and it was awful and I convinced myself (by reading mumsnet) that I had damaged him forever. The next morning he woke up with a wonderful smile and I was so relieved. Second night he understood more and took 10 mins, third night was a grizzle. Since I have never had an issue getting him to bed (& he is 18 months now).

The worst thing you can do (now that you have done it once) is not stick with it - then it has all been for nothing. Stick with it for tonight and tomorrow and I promise you will see a massive improvement! Oh and there is absolutely no research that Leaving baby to cry in a short sleep training method leads to development problems - believe me I've researched!

And anyway CIO for me and my son meant a whole lot less crying than the gentler methods - so different babies sometimes need different things.

Rororowmeboat Thu 04-Apr-13 18:20:30
SquidgersMummy Thu 04-Apr-13 22:28:52

My dd is 8 mths and we feed to sleep. It's what bf babies do. The sleep board is a good place to get some advice. Don't want to bash you but I think 6 mths is a bit young to be left to cry. What sense will he make of it? If I were you I'd hop over to the sleep board - lots of friendly posters there. X

SquidgersMummy Thu 04-Apr-13 22:35:37

Rororomeaboat, it's not just about cortisol levels - what would a baby understand about such an episode - they would not be able to infer or learn anything about sleep - they stop crying because they give up in a helpless/hopeless state because they learn that no one is coming despite the fact they are crying. Not a lesson I'd like my dc to learn. Very few child health professionals advocate controlled crying techniques anymore.

You have not damaged your baby don't worry. My dd did not respond to any other methods. Going in patting her back , gradual retreat etc served no purpose but to maybe her even more upset. If this isn't what you want to do then try something else but if 30 mins is the first night it's not likely to be as long again if you try again tomorrow. Honestly it can work in 3/4 days. I know alot of people feel its cruel but everyone needs to sleep its just as cruel to have your other children kept awake all night too.

Do your research and decide what you want to do and stick to it smile

Rororowmeboat Fri 05-Apr-13 11:00:21

Ps regarding feeding to sleep I do think that it is generally what BF babies do really and it definitely isn't a rod for your back. I bf my baby until 13 months and he pretty fed to sleep every night (it was just taking him off the breast and putting him in the cot which was the nightmare!)

squidgers - it really makes me laugh when people pronounce on mumsnet what they think child health professionals would and wouldn't advocate. My HV and many other HV and paediatricians I have met discuss CC as a technique, along with the numerous 'expert' books written about it by child health professionals, Dr Feber, Dr Christopher Green, my baby week by week etc. I'm a doctor, my mum is a child psychologist and out of all the friends with babies I know it is actually the doctors (inc paediatricians) who have used CC! Just because you don't agree with it don't assume the whole medical community is behind you.

We are all trying are best for a children and doing what we feel is best for our children - every child and mum is different, don't make people feel bad if that is what works for them.

waterrat Fri 05-Apr-13 11:36:35

moomin don't worry you haven't hurt your baby or damaged them - my friend was telling me the other day that her sister cried for the first year solidly! but was the happiest toddler and now the happiest adult.

But - I do think that it's unncessary to leave them like that crying - there are gentler ways of teaching them to fall asleep on their own. And don't feel bad about wanting that, as my DS did wake less once he could settle himself - and I didn't want to have to feed him to sleep every time, I wanted his dad to be able to put him to bed.

Sit next to the cot, when she cries stroke/ pat/ sing - but don't pick her up. That's one method. Might be easier if your partner does it if you are breastfeeding.

Or - you could do pick up put down, pick up cuddle, wait till stop crying, put them down, as soon as they start to cry pick up again. but they get sleepier and sleeper and eventually stop crying and fall asleep.

lifesobeautiful Fri 05-Apr-13 15:17:48

Hear hear Rorow! I hate to see people being judged for different methods when they're just trying their best. I shall remember your post when my next DD arrives and I'm feeling guilty/worried about various things. Thank you!

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