What worked for us. Hope this helps.

(655 Posts)
nectarina Sun 29-Jan-12 21:03:49

This post is going to be massive - no apologies however.

So I've posted at least 5 queries about DD's sleep and read about 1 billion threads, because DD only napped for 30mins  in the day, would only BF to sleep (since a newborn I wanted to get out of the habit, but nothing else did it). She spent  the first 5 months in her cot, only for us to end up co-sleeping so we could get a bit of rest. She would BF every 2 hours at  least in the night, and by the end she'd wake every half hour before we went to bed. I knew I couldn't do CC/CIO, I'm not  strong enough even if I thought that was the right thing to do, but I thought that I would be forced to if things carried on  the way they were.

We read No Cry Sleep Solution, which is complicated and didn't work for us.

So a friend had tried a technique, that she recommended and I thought that it was too much of a leap for DD, but i kept  the email, and one evening I sort of snapped and decided that IT WAS TIME. DD was  8 1/2months. I don't know from  what age this technique is recommended, but I don't think I'd have wanted to do this earlier, as you still have to cope with  the baby crying. I knew DD was ready because now she quite clearly has two cries - one properly sad and scared, the  other a bit shouty and put on, so when doing this technique you know what's going on (but I'd like to add that I still  comforted DD when she was shouty - she's still trying to say something, but I deÞ nitely wouldn't pick her up and panic!)

 I'll paste her email to me, hoping she won't mind. We didn't do it in the ten days, as it was just a bit too much, but i wonder if the way we did it made things a bit complicated. So I recommend doing it as laid out.  

But now DD takes 20mins to fall asleep by herself (with one of us in her room) in her cot, in her room. and I do not feed at  all between 7pm and 7am. Dh goes in in the night and he gives her water in case she's thirsty but she's quite happy  without. It takes him no more than about 3mins to resettle her (unless ill).

After starting this at the beginning of January  she still wakes up once or twice a night but it doesn't affect me as I wear earplugs and DH goes in! ha ha ha! (I still hear  her and wake up, but I don't wake up fully and find it difFicult to go back to sleep) Do I need to tell you how I feel like a  different woman?

So here's the email -  

^"Ok, this is a plan thing that we first tried with dc1 when we got to the point where we knew something had to change. There seems to come a point where not only do you get tired of 'helping' your baby get to sleep, but whatever you do seems to work less and less - as if they know something has to change too! It takes a bit of work for about ten days or so but mostly the first couple of days you really put your back into it and then it gets easier. I remember vaguely doing it with dc1 and have just rediscovered it with Dc2 she is a bit of a firecracker so I was expecting trouble but babies love to learn something new, especially around this age and she only woke once last night despite having a cold, which is a HUGE improvement. Dc1 found this very easy and never shed a tear. Dc2 screamed 'TRAITOR!!' at me many times during the first night (she does that a lot), so I'm not saying that there won't be some crying because you will be doing something different to before but you don't have to leave her side and can reassure her as much as you need to, physically and verbally. 
The idea is that you are no longer going to help her go to sleep - in whatever way - if you rock her, feed her, jiggle her, whatever it is. You can be there and reassure her but it is no longer your job to MAKE her go to sleep. It is your job to support her whilst she does it herself. 
First of all, you know that thing that everyone says about having a bedtime routine (which I imagine you already have) is utterly true. By the time they are a toddler, the sound of a running bath is enough to set the bedtime clock going. When you choose to do this thing, it is really important to stick to your bedtime routine without fail for the ten days and it needs to be between 20 and 45 minutes long. Also, this plan also applies to naps, so you need to be able to be at home for naptimes - just until Dd has the thing established - ten days usually does it. Lastly, you are aiming for Dd to be in bed by 7ish in the evening and not much later. If you're like me you're knackered by about half four, so starting bedtime at a quarter past six is no trouble. You've probably done all that so on to the plan. I'll do bedtimes first and then naps. 

Day 1, 2 and 3 - Place a chair right next to the cot. Make it a comfortable chair, you may get to know it fairly well. Have a duvet, cushions, iphone, book to hand. Do your bedtime routine and put Dd in the cot awake. She may well not know what to do next and try all sorts of things. If she stands up you can gently pop her back down again but only a few times - if she insists on standing for a bit then let her - it may just be one of those things she incorporates into her own burgeoning routine, and I daresay she is capable of getting back down again by now. You can pat the bed to let her know you want her to lie down. Sooner or later she is likely to sit down for a bit and eventually plop on to her front. She has to find her own way through this so she may try eating her blanket or playing with a toy before she lies down - that's up to her. If she cries, you can pat her and speak to her. As long as you remember that your patting and comforting is not there to get her to sleep, just to help her calm down in this new and confusing situation so as soon as she starts to settle, lighten your touch with a view to taking your hand off her, and stop speaking. She may go back and forth a bit needing you to touch and speak to her a few more times, but each time lessen your touch when she has settled. Stay there until she has fallen fast asleep and creep out. This bit can take ten minutes for some babies, but most fall asleep after 45 minutes. Two hours is the longest on record! I expected Dc2 to be a two hour effort but no - 45 minutes almost exactly. As long as you know that it is going to take that long, you can get through it. When she wakes up in the night, you do exactly the same thing, each and every time. The first few times she wakes, she will probably yell for you, but as she gets the idea that she can drift back to sleep herself, she may just squeak and go back (sounds unlikely? I thought that too.) The idea is that as time goes on you can wait a tiny bit longer before you go in, to give her the opportunity to practise her new skill.

Days 4, 5 and 6 - move the chair a few feet away from the cot. Keep everything else the same except you are further away. Once you have had your bedtime cuddle and put her in the cot sit down. You can still go to her if she really needs you, and you can still speak to her but she may not need as much help by now. Again, wait until she is asleep before you leave. Repeat as often as necessary when she wakes although, again, leave it a few minutes before you go in.

Days 7, 8 and 9 - move the chair to the door or the other side of the room. Make sure she can still see you, but once you have settled her in her cot and gone to the chair try not to go to her unless she has got herself into a daft position and can't get out. By now she will start developing her own strategy to get to sleep, and you will be able to tell what stage she is at, because you've been watching it all the way through.

Day 10 - you have several choices. If you think things are going really well and baby can cope with you not being there  you can leave the room and see how she gets on. You can hover by the door out of sight and watch what happens, and  reassure her with your voice. If you feel apprehensive about it and think she needs longer you can try the Bustle -  instead of sitting down, tinker about in her room, cleaning up or folding washing or whatever. Or you can continue in the  chair.  The idea of the plan is ultimately for you to be able to plonk and go, but I quite like spending that extra time with DC so I  use a mixture of the bustle and the chair. For night wakings you now really have to give her the chance to go back on her  own. Wait ten minutes ( I know - such a long time!) before you go in.  I got up last night to Þ nd by the time I got to DC's  door, she'd already curled up again! That's the main brunt of it. Just bear in mind that the first couple of nights are the worst - she might wake more frequently,  but stick at it and you'll see an improvement. The other thing is that when they start sleeping longer in the night they get  up properly a bit too early in the morning - but this usually improves over a few weeks as they get the hang of sleeping.  I've kind of assumed that you are going to move her into her own room - there's no reason you can't start this as soon as  you move her in. If DC get ill and it disrupts her sleep, go back to whichever stage in the plan you think works best. You can sleep in her  room if you want to keep an eye on her, but don't bring her in with you.

Naps - Do the same for naps as you do at night times only you can't sit there for as long as it takes - give it an hour and if  she hasn't gone to sleep, get her up and feed her or do something different and try again a bit later. If she resists  napping like this twice in a day you can resort to taking her out in the buggy or something. just so she gets a bit of sleep  in the day. You are aiming at two solid naps a day by the way. If you've started this thing at bedtime the night before, the  nap thing is usually not a problem.  I can't think of anything else right now! By the way this is based on a Canadian lady's idea. I chose to use it because it  doesn't mean leaving a baby to cry. They learn to fall asleep without you intervening, although you might argue that your  presence is a sort of intervention, but before long you will find yourself saying goodnight and shutting the door, because  she'd not taking any notice of you anymore!" ^

So for us the First night it took 3 hours 10mins, which is why for nightwakings later on that night I just fed her instead of  sitting with her. Within the first few nights she woke LOADS less and then DH would go to her and he would just ask her  to put her head down and she would and go straight back to sleep. Needless to say that sort of thing just wouldn't  happen before. So if I remember rightly it was only after 4 or 5 nights that I stopped feeding her. The other thing we've  found a bit hard is waiting a few mins before going in to her when she wakes. We just give it one or two minutes more  than we'd usually do instead of waiting 10.  

DH would like to add that he thinks the important thing is to teach DC to put their head down and close their eyes - he  says' put your head down, put your head down, now close your eyes' and repeats it a bit like a mantra gently until DD  does, and then stops as soon as she does what he says. He says for our 9month old that after a week she knows what it  means and does what he suggests! He says that this is useful in the night and that's all he needs to do to get her to go back to sleep.

For the first night I recommend a large glass of wine that you take in with you. For the second night, have  the bottle waiting for you on the table in the lounge. Also on the first night we both did it together for a bit of moral  support and took it in turns but I'm assuming that none of you is as much as a wimp as I am.

I hope this isn't too much of a mess, my friend's writing is very clear, and mine is all over the shop. I'm just a bit  enthusiastic about how its gone. I hope this is of use to someone.

jaffa19 Fri 03-Feb-12 13:41:06

Thank you so much for this Nectarina! Amazing, I will be starting this weekend! DS is 7.5 months and used to sleep so well, now I seem to be up all night. Can I ask, How did you get on with naps? You said in your OP that she only slept 30 mins during the day - has this changed? Have just started a thread about DS napping in buggy and only sleeping 30 mins in his cot!
Thanks

nectarina Fri 03-Feb-12 14:02:58

Hello jaffa,
We haven't cracked naps at all (confess that we haven't really been trying). According to my friend if we get out more and do tiring activities between naps that helps. We're going to try in earnest once the weathers got warmer, and i'm going to have to buy a post-pregnancy swimsuit. At the mo we're still getting her used to going in her cot - mostly we rock her to almost asleep then put her in her cot. So next step is putting her in her cot totally awake. Like i said we'll start when weather gets better. I'll keep you posted.

Dd slept through 7.30pm til 6.15am last night. This is the first time she's e er slept through and to be honest we're a bit in shock (sweet,sweet shock). I hope this gives some of you a bit of courage!

dycey Fri 03-Feb-12 16:40:44

Congratulations! Hope you slept too!

nectarina Fri 03-Feb-12 19:42:44

Ha ha, i did thank you. When i heard her cry i did the usual sigh, dh went in to dd and started putting on all the lights, chatting to her etc and i didn't realise why until i looked at the clock. Finger's crossed it wasn't a one-off.

7.30 till 6.15? That's the stuff of dreams here! (If we were asleep long enough to dream!)

We're going to give it a go from this weekend. Wish us luck smile

AprilSkies Fri 03-Feb-12 19:59:21

We did that at 6 months old, worked in a week, no problems since.

nectarina Fri 03-Feb-12 20:59:46

Atruth - i do wish you lots of luck. Please let me know how it goes.

ledkr Fri 03-Feb-12 21:28:15

I did this with dd 12 months.She stared at me for ages from her cot as if she couldnt understand what i was up to.I was fairly close to the cot (very small room) she leaned her head over to touch mine,it was incredibly sweet.I think this is preferable than actually leaving them alone,i eventually got dd to sleep by returning to her every time she cried.It meant i was like a blue arsed fly but i think it reassured her i was always close by.

Iheartpasties Sat 04-Feb-12 10:41:23

Hello, this idea sounds great. I might try it soon, we move in a week so probably after that to be honest so that the routine doesnt get bugered up half way through.

The thing I find the absolute hardest is that our cot is quite low to the ground and you have to bend RIGHT over to put DD in it. When you are soothing your LO do you just push your arm through the gaps between the bars of the cot?

My back hurts all the time and I just end up doing things to avoid bending over the damn cot too much. I think DD would fall asleep if I lent over and patted her back but it just kills my back. And also now I've read this I just know that teaching her to fall asleep by herself is much better!!

Any ideas on conforting DD without bending too much? I will find a comfy chair to put near the cot.

Do you find this technique works with the light on or off?

thnkas.

nectarina Sat 04-Feb-12 11:45:31

Pasties, i always have a very dim light on (too dim to read by), i think you could do it in the dark if thats what your baby is used to.
As for bending down, i don't know really, could you try a higher chair next to the cot? I know it hurst my back if i do it from standing. It probably means it'll go a lot quicker as you'll be comforting less. You'll find a solution. Use your voice more - coo, hum, sing etc

lolascolas Sun 05-Feb-12 21:40:08

A massive thank you nectarina!! We have used your method for the past three nights and tonight DS went to sleep without crying or a boob in his mouth! Last night was the first night he spent the whole night in his cot since he was 6 months - he's just turned 1. He's still waking up a few times but it's getting much easier to settle him. Thanks again!!! smile

nectarina Mon 06-Feb-12 06:42:42

Lolascolas - well done! I'm very pleased for you.
It'll take a few more days for your ds to wake even less at night, but it sounds like things are already better. Out of interest, how long did it take you the first night?

We've decided to tackle naps this morning. Will keep everyone updated.

OPeaches Mon 06-Feb-12 08:46:23

We're going to try this too, thank you so much for the post. Dd is 11 months and was an ace sleeper up until 4 months. Since then shes got steadily worse. She now gets up every 60 to 90 minutes. Feeding her back to sleep takes 5 mins, any other method takes and hour at least of screaming and crying. We tried the No Cry Sleep Solution too and it hasn't made a difference. I need to do something before my nipples drop off!! I'm so tired I'm constantly tearful - not good when I'm at work facing a class of 30 unruly 7 year olds.

ladybirdsinmyeyes Mon 06-Feb-12 13:36:47

Okay, our weekend visitors have gone home, who I hardly got to see in the evening as she wouldn't sleep either in her cot or without me lying next to her, so she's juuuuust about over her cold and we are away next week (so that's 7 days away - will she get enough training before we go??) where I don't think the bed will be big enough for all of us. I'm starting tonight..am I starting tonight? Words of encouragement please!!

nectarina Mon 06-Feb-12 17:54:39

Hi Ladybird
it'll go well, in fact you might even find the training easier than what you've been doing up til now as I found. I waited until a good time but in fact I needn't have.
Let me know how it goes and good luck

MadameJ Mon 06-Feb-12 21:04:05

Hi all, after reading this thread last night in between resettling DD, 13 months 3 thousand times and I have started tonight!!!!

DD has always being what I would class as an inconsistent sleeper for example she has slept up to 10 hours at night which was bliss but then this is usually followed by several nights of waking every half an hour.
I have always fed her to sleep as this really appeared to be my only option. Her sleeping has really taken its toll on me to the point where I have actually given up work after I nearly crashed driving hmm

Anyway, I carried out her normal bedtime routine tonight except that I BF her before putting her into her sleeping bag as I knew this would wake her if she did start to doze.

She did get upset but it was more of an angry shout then a very upset cry (if that makes sense), In total it took about 20 mins and I remained in the room for a further 10 minutes to make sure she was asleep and please don't jinx it but she is still asleep now.

I am determined that this needs to work as both me and my little lady need more sleep!

I like the 'feed then gro bag' idea madamej as I find it hard not to feed to sleep (he just falls asleep iyswim)

Still haven't been brave enough to try this fully yet tho...

TrickyWoo Tue 07-Feb-12 01:41:43

Starting tomorrow but DD (feed to sleep 7mths, can't self settle, awake 4/5 times per night) has self settled 2x after bedtime xnx just fallen asleep by self after 11pm feed.

Scratch they she has just woken but I am sitting shushing!

lolascolas Tue 07-Feb-12 10:18:22

First night it was about an hour and a half. He didn't cry the whole time just faffed around not sure what to do with himself. He eventually just stayed lying down and dropped off.
Last night if was about half an hour to settle at bedtime but woke up about 2.30am and wanted the boob! Cried for about 45 minutes but just persevered - kept lying him back down and singing to him. The easiest thing would be to feed as I know that works but I don't want to do that forever!
I can't wait for an unbroken nights sleep - hope it's not too far off!! Good luck everyone.

spaceal Tue 07-Feb-12 10:52:53

Hi all, and thanks nectarina.

Can I ask what people do do if their LO gets really upset? I know this is the way forward but I've just tried this with a nap and my DD just got distraught (after about 20 mins of her playing and moaning and me sitting next to the cot comforting her verbally and with my hand on her chest). In the end I fed her and she's now fast asleep but I know I shouldn't have, I just couldn't see what else to do, she was so upset, nothing else would calm her.

I know I did the "wrong thing" and feel crap but didn't feel like I had any other options...

nectarina Tue 07-Feb-12 11:32:00

Just to be clear - we didn't do this in 10 days. We thought that since DD had been always a bad sleeper that we would do it at our own pace. I feel particularly sensitive to crying babies and I knew that I wouldn't do anything that made me feel bad. So whilst once we'd started we always made sure that i didn't feed to sleep at bedtime, I carried on feeding her in the night if dh couldn't settle her within, say 10mins. But once I'd fed her, I'd wake her up a bit and put her down. So even after doing it like this she just dropped feeds and woke up less of her own accord - even after me continuing to bf in the night.

And we still haven't cracked naps! we're doing it so slowly! so i used to feed her on the bed and sneak out. Then dh has rocked her to sleep to get her used to not feeding. Now we're working on rocking her bum in her cot. she just absolutely hates being put in her cot for naps, so we just want her to get used to her cot.

It feels a bit strange for me to be giving advice to be honest, as I think I've done all the things that you're not supposed to do, I lack backbone, I've only got one baby...the list is endless

madamej - i'm jealous - 20mins!

atruth - yes, you just need to make sure feeding's not the last thing you do

lolascolas - thats going really well then. its up to you but i'd just feed if ds takes that long to settle. just make sure you wake him to put him down. The first unbroken nights sleep came after about 3 weeks i think. dd went from 5 feeds a night to 2 when we first started then a week later 1 a night so I hope its not far off for you. Can I just warn you though, even 8 hours sleep doesn't feel as refreshing as I'd fantasised it would. I'm certainly not complaining, but it hasn't solved all the problems that I thought it would!

spaceal - you certainly didn't do anything wrong!
I would start it in the evening rather than for naps for starters.
Then make sure you can separate the moans, whimpers, frustrated or angry crying and proper tears rolling down cheeks crying. Ignore anything thats not crying, and for frustration crying you need to do what you're doing - comforting with you voice and hand, but know that she will probably continue to do this for a bit. I think this is the hard bit. For proper proper upset I would pick up even though this scuppers things a bit, but you just don't want to be in a position where you're standing there like an idiot watching your baby wail. I know this is all a bit vague, but I do think you have to do it your own way, and you have to be comfortable with it.

dycey Tue 07-Feb-12 12:12:24

I always found it hard to put my ds down I the cot for naps even once I had bedtime sorted. I used to rock him or he would go mad with distress. For a while he would go down in his cot for naps - between 10 and 15 months but then it got harder again. You always have bedtime but naps do disappear within a few years!

Nectarina, you're the best person to give advice exactlybecause you have found it hard so you understand how others feel. I am finding it all very helpful (and I have been through this once already) but now with a breast feeding 6 month old fed to sleep rocked to sleep baby situation....

nectarina Tue 07-Feb-12 12:29:36

dycey please don't say that! I was hoping to have it sorted in a couple of weeks!

dycey Tue 07-Feb-12 13:22:49

O im sure the key is to unwind the baby first... I was a bit hopeless at it first time round. And I was never confident that he was tired enough and I was not confident about the whole thing. Hence facing it second time round with equal trepidation.

I'm sure you'll get it sorted if you want to.... (but I don't think naps in the cot is that terribly important so long as they' ll nap somewhere ( I always relied on my pushchair).) and good luck.

Weissbluss (or whatever his name is) says that the part of the brain responsible for naps and bedtime is different, I found that encouraging in letting me not worry unduly about napping in cot... But I was looking for excuses!

MadameJ Tue 07-Feb-12 14:29:17

nectarina I think the 20 minutes was an absolute fluke and I really wasnt expecting it to take such a short time so I will let you all know how tonight goes.

DD's night wasnt too bad at all, she has a lingering cough which disturbed her at midnight but I gave her a drink of water and she settled back to sleep (didnt even need to pick her up), she woke at 3.30 again coughing and was asking for boob so I did feed her but didnt allow her to fall back to sleep feeding and she settled ok after about 30mins. That for us was a bloody fantastic night.

Hope it continues wink

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