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.

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Mon 16-Dec-13 19:30:39

Afternoon nap took ten minutes of crying and he slept for an hour which is also good compared to his current track record. ..best of all though, I've put him down for bed and he was asleep in less than ten mins with no crying! ! grin Didn't expect that at all. Will be interesting to see how long before he wakes. .

MrsReacher85 Tue 17-Dec-13 08:43:43

Shockingly we seem to be having some progress now! Last night he went to sleep in 25 minutes, but I am still having to hold his hand. However, he then slept for 5.5 hours! Recently that's a miracle. When he woke up, as soon as I walked in the room he plopped back on the mattress and just needed me to sit there for 15 minutes until he went back to sleep. We had one more wake up which took a bit longer, but in total he had over 11 hours sleep, which is fantastic!

I think it's going to take us longer than the 10 days in the OP, and I'm adding in stages as I need to, but I do feel like we're getting somewhere at long last.

Shatteredmamma1 Tue 17-Dec-13 09:15:03

Well done mrsreacher ! I'm impressed
especially after your first few posts. We have
also had a wee bit of progress- although we
hadn't started from such a bad place. I'm
still sitting by the cot but last night he was
asleep within about 6/7 minutes which was
great. Not sure how I'll move away though!
grin but we have had some great stretches
of sleep too smile. . Hope things continue
to improve for you xx

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 17-Dec-13 13:46:42

Really pleased to hear success stories. We had a bit of backsliding last night due I think to one or more of teeth/bit of a cold/growth spurt. He was asleep within twenty minutes with some complaining but not too serious, plus I am well away from the cot now. However then up at 23:30, 2 and 4:30 having previously been waking once if at all.

Reminding myself to keep eyes on the prize, stick to the plan and hope this doesn't last long..

Shatteredmamma1 Tue 17-Dec-13 13:55:38

Eyes on the prize indeed mrsmalcolm.
How did you move away? I ask as I am still
having to do some patting. I guess I just have
to man up and do it??!! smile

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 17-Dec-13 19:17:57

As he got better at settling down first of all I just tried not to be in physical contact when he was actually dropping off, although still humming so he knew I was there. Then the next night moved the chair slightly further away from the cot but still close enough I could lean over and rest a hand on him if need be. Then a bit further so now I would need to get up to touch him
He can still see me and hear the humming though - I think I'll need to be having a really confident day in order to move out of sight!

Shatteredmamma1 Tue 17-Dec-13 20:13:57

Thanks smile we managed without patting
today so fingers crossed that continues.!
Good work everyone...

JemR234 Wed 18-Dec-13 09:34:06

I've been doing this a couple of weeks and we've gone from 3 wake ups to 1 for a feed, and baby going to sleep pretty much straight after that. Amazing! I am so glad I found this thread as I was getting desperate but didn't want to do CC.

Good luck everyone!

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Thu 19-Dec-13 07:16:00

We definitely seeing an improvement, except when he's waking at night its taking at least 2hrs for him to settle, with practically constant crying. I ended up rocking him last night and he woke 45mins later (that'll teach me!) so I caved and brought him to bed with me. He actually settled better when I left him to it which I found odd!

Anyone 3 else having the same 2hr night waking issue? Any tips or suggestions for dealing with the nights?

mrsmalcolmreynolds Thu 19-Dec-13 09:30:59

No magic bullet I'm afraid - we've been fortunate and longest night waking has been 45 mins. I remember though with DD (3.5 years ago) that after a while ahe started really resisting sleep - I think she worked out that as long as she was awake one of us would be in the room. So we went more controlled crying, going in every 5 mins. I'd rather not have had to do it but it did sort the problem and tgere have been no ill effects. I felt better than I would have done if we'd CC from the start because I knew by then that she could actually self settle and it was really stubbornness stopping her.

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Thu 19-Dec-13 17:09:02

He's sounded so hoarse all day today and it's breaking my heart sad will try leaving the room next time then. I worry I'm missing something that's causing the crying even though I'm covering all possibilities. It's much less bearable at night sad

mrsmalcolmreynolds Fri 20-Dec-13 13:11:00

Sorry it's so rough at the moment. Please please don't do something I've suggested if you're not comfortable with it - all babies and parents are different. Good luck with whatever you go with for tonight.

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Fri 20-Dec-13 14:24:36

Last night he went from half 7 til 6! I called DH in for reinforcements as all the sleep deprivation of the last couple of months caught up with me and I didn't feel I could be strong enough for another night. Turned out he didn't need to do anything!

Shatteredmamma1 Fri 20-Dec-13 17:40:36

Well done indecisiveprambuyer!!!! Great
News smile

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sat 21-Dec-13 10:10:23

Yay excellent news!

YoniMitchel Sat 21-Dec-13 13:07:21

Did this with DS a year ago with great success and have now started it with DD, hate it ,hate it ,hate it but I can't go on, she wants my nipple in her mouth all night and I'm just too tired :-(

Peregrin Sat 21-Dec-13 14:04:28

What do you do if your baby goes from placid to full-on purple-in-the-face screaming in nano-seconds and will not stop unless you pick him up?
a) conclude that he is not ready to sleep alone?
b) leave him cry until he gets a hernia?
c) surely there is some magic alternative... please?

Mine is 3 months old but I'm barely functioning with the sleep deprivation.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sat 21-Dec-13 19:20:16

Hi Peregrin - I think at 3 months tbh I would soothe by whatever means necessary. I do believe that sleep training can be a really positive step but 3 months is very small and personally I would be worried that the baby wouldn't be able to take comfort from me being nearby and in the way I think an older one can.

I do sympathise very much though - at times with DS both I and DH have been in tears with the strain of endlessly holding him, pacing in the middle of the night etc. Are you able to share the strain with an OH? Or can someone take the baby out in the pram for a couple of hours in the day to give you at least a short break? The physical, mental and emotional exhaustion is awful I know.

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Sun 22-Dec-13 09:09:48

OP, I am forever in your debt! Tried this for the first time last night with my 6mo. Normally we have to rock him to sleep, and then hold him for 1 hour+ before he could be put down.
So I was all ready for hours and hours of crying, until... He fell asleep after 1 hour exactly, and then slept from 20.30 to 5.45 (this is almost unheard of!!!) then DH gave him a bottle and he slept from 7.15 to 8.30.
I am drunk on sleep! Can't wait to try it again tonight!

YoniMitchel Tue 24-Dec-13 19:05:37

* peregin* my DD is just turned 5months so pretty young too so I did a modified version ie we put her down awake at bedtime and for one nap a day ,the other naps I went for a drive/walk with her, didn't want her to cry too much in one day as she's so young .we're on day 4 today and she was asleep in 5 mins tonight ,no longer roaring just giving out smile last night she slept 7pm-2am quick feed and put back into cot and another wake up at 5am then up for the day at 7am, delighted , she's ebf so will still need night feeds which im ok with (I secretly enjoy them) just couldn't handle hourly feeds for months on end. I suppose what I'm trying to say is it doesn't have to be all or nothing you can start small like I did, eg just put down awake at bedtime, on day 1 for us she was in my bed by 10pm yet by day 3 she spent the night in her cot grin

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Thu 26-Dec-13 19:38:14

Can anyone offer any advice... Started this method 5 nights ago, and DS has slept for 11/12 hours straight every night (I am a new woman!) but it's still not getting any easier to get him to fall asleep - he's still crying for up to an hour each night. We are ssshhh-ing, patting, singing etc and we are having to stay by his cot as he scratches his head if we aren't there to stop him. What can we do to help him fall asleep more quickly?

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sun 29-Dec-13 19:09:37

Hi Home. Not had your issue but my thoughts were 1) 5 nights is not that long so see whether a few more days help 2) if not, you might need to try and find a way of moving further away to see whether you being so close is a distraction from him settling. Tricky with the scratching - I guess he may be too old for scratch mits? Maybe move to the other side of the room and only go over to him if necessary to prevent scratching?

iamhopeful Mon 30-Dec-13 16:10:21

I am back, we were doing really well and DD was settling herself at bedtime and then with minimal support from us in the night, one feed and almost straight back to sleep. The last two weeks we have hit a wall and she is waking up in the early hours and screaming, nothing is working, shushing, patting, sitting beside her, feeding or calpol. The dr just said she is fine and to deal with it but we are beside ourselves with exhaustion. I sleep walk and last week I remember feeding her but not putting her down in the cot again which worries me.

She is almost 12 months and I think cutting some molars but is there anything we can do to get beyond 4 hours sleep a night. When work starts again next week I am going to be terrible.

utopian99 Fri 03-Jan-14 04:35:29

Checking in on this again as we tried it a couple of months ago (ds just turned 12 months now). At the time he was sleeping from 8pm - 6am with two wakeups andbbeing settled with no milk but occasionally water.
After trying this for 7 days he was waking 3/4 times a night and I finally gave in after he cried for two hours and I bf him to sleep.

Think problems could be - I told dh I would tackle it alone and really needed the support instead.
- I didn't just let him stand (having re read) and laid him down again too often
- by 5am was so shattered each night as time went on and his sleep deteriorated that started co sleeping drom 5 just to cope.

The thing is he's now 12 mo, no milk in the day 7-7, and back to semi normal (I.e. sleep patterns prior to this,) and yet my periods haven't returned. Therefore we need to sort night feeds completely in case I am never going to get fertility back without full weaning, as really want his sibling close in age.

anyone else struggling with a deterioration have any tips?

IndecisivePramBuyer81 Fri 03-Jan-14 10:13:26

Our situation improved quickly except for 2 hours awake at night which always culminates with me cuddling him or bringing into bed with us as I can't bear the crying any longer. It's happens every night and I still don't know what is causing it! He seems to want to sleep but can't settle for more than ten mins sad so I can't help but feel your pain! thanks

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