What worked for us. Hope this helps.

(680 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.

fondationmaeght Thu 04-Feb-16 14:19:15

Hoe did you get on cosmic?
I'm going to try next week

cosmicdancer89 Wed 04-Nov-15 18:55:37

Reviving this thread as I'm implementing this strategy and although there's improvement, I'm totally knackered. Would be nice to hear from anyone trying the same right now.

Chickenorbeef Thu 23-Jul-15 06:16:22

Sounds familiar. Thats pretty much how my nights go, and he's up for the day at 5am confused I think I'm going to tackle the night feeds first, as surely he will still wake feeling genuinely hungry as he's been used to regular feeds through the night. How was your night?

SleepForTheWeak Wed 22-Jul-15 18:13:07

We had 7 wake ups, fed her 5 times confused

Let's see how tonight goes...

Chickenorbeef Wed 22-Jul-15 07:28:50

Wow Sounds like you're making progress, thats really good. I'm still psyching myself up for all this. We had over ten wake ups last night its getting beyond a joke now...could have screamed!

SleepForTheWeak Tue 21-Jul-15 18:09:33

Hi chicken! We are on night 6, last night DD (9 months) fell asleep in 8mins with no crying whatsoever. I was still beside her cot, humming a song and just playing on my phone. Can't believe it - I was sure it wasn't going to work for her!! Going to move the chair further away tonight.

She still gets up loads during the night but in just feeding her when she wakes up - I'll tackle that another time!

I'm not sure about dummy - some people think it's too much to change at the same time, some think you might as well bite the bullet and get rid of all sleep crutches.

DD didn't take a dummy, she did however sick my pinky to sleep for naps and to settle her during the night when she didn't take a feed. It was a nightmare, my back was sore from stooping over the cot and my finger was blistered from her gnawing it as she is teething. So, I decided I wouldn't give her the pinky for naps or during the night - or feed her to sleep at bedtime.

It's only been 5 days but the difference at bed time is amazing. I'll tackle night time and naps when she's not as bothered with her teeth.

Good luck!

Chickenorbeef Tue 21-Jul-15 09:10:39

Just in the process of trawling through this thread - its amazing! 8 months of 90 minute wake ups I am well and truly ready to make a change. DH works away a lot and I don't think there will ever be a time where he is home for a week clear so just trying to find the strength to start it on my own. Cannot believe I have done 8 months of this, it is completely insane. Haven't gone through all 700 messages yet but trying to find something about a dummy? Should I just go cold turkey and remove when I start? So reassured to read so many people having the same problems. Was starting to feel like I was alone in this as all my friends with babies have never experienced this. Scared to start it but also looking forward to in a strange kind of way, need to get some kind of life back sad thanks all

Beccus Mon 20-Jul-15 21:23:39

shocking night last night. up 4 times before 1 and then awake from 1-3 & up for the day at 6. squeezed in 2 naps, so hopefully he will be less overtired tonight. he self settled at bedtime, which is good, but he has had periods where he has done this and it hasn't hugely improved overnight sleep.

Beccus Sun 19-Jul-15 20:29:37

3 wake ups last night, which is an improvement from recently. he was up early today, settled well at nap time and settled in about 20 mins at bedtime at 540....but he has already been up once. early bedtime due to getting up early, shortish nap and transitioning from 2 to 1 nap. good luck tonight everyone

SleepForTheWeak Sat 18-Jul-15 22:16:22

It's amazing how they adapt.

DD fell asleep in 8 mins tonight!!

Naps and night times are another story but I'm not going to dwell on that. Huge improvement.

Beccus Sat 18-Jul-15 20:42:13

that's a great start. dp has modified this slightly - he is lying ds down every time he tries to get up. took 40 mins (30 mins of crying) & 43 lie downs before he went off. we r just going to feed as normal when he wakes up

ToonLass Fri 17-Jul-15 23:05:49

I just fed her as normal during the night, I need to get a clear cut plan in my head before I night wean!!

She fell asleep after 15 minutes tonight - so impressed. She's woken once so far for a feed, and another time i just went in and hummed a song and she went back to sleep smile

Beccus Fri 17-Jul-15 21:54:49

how was the rest of your night?

ToonLass Thu 16-Jul-15 19:04:56

She's asleep! 25 minutes of crying. She didn't want me to touch her at all, so I just sat beside her and sang.

She had rubbish naps today so was shattered.

Dreading it when she wakes...

ToonLass Thu 16-Jul-15 16:24:03

Right. I think I'm going to give this a go tonight.

I'm going to feed her before her bath, so she has plenty time to bring up wind. I'll get her into pyjamas then read a wee story and put her to bed. I am going to try and not give a pinky. I expect a lot of tears - from us both!! X

ToonLass Thu 16-Jul-15 16:10:14

She woke up at 9 last night so I was determined not to feed her as she only went down at 7 and had a good tea and feed before bed. I gave her my pinky to stop the hysterics.

I lasted until 11pm, I then fed her and she was asleep writhin 10mins. I went to bed upset and deflated. Worst of all, she woke at 11.40 and after DH trying to settle her ended in bed with us sad

She's definitely teething which doesn't help either.

Beccus Thu 16-Jul-15 13:04:48

I think we will try this soon. I think no pinky, unless initially for wakes during the night, like op did with feeding. good luck

ToonLass Wed 15-Jul-15 21:14:24


ToonLass Tue 14-Jul-15 19:15:38

Any advice re the pinky?

Should I go cold turkey, or give her it to calm down but not let her fall asleep with it?

She's teething again and grinds her teeth against my pinky - very sore ��

ToonLass Thu 09-Jul-15 09:30:03

Also meant to ask - I presume I shouldn't let her suck my pinky to settle? Be it day or night (I'll tackle naps later - focussing on night just now!). I suppose it's like her dummy.

ToonLass Thu 09-Jul-15 09:20:30

Well I've been trawling through this thread for a couple of days and I think we are going to start this next week. We have a couple of commitments over next few days which will disrupt her routine so going to wait till that's all out the way and then we have free diaries for a couple weeks to really commit.

DD (8.5 months) has always been a bad sleeper - but she's been particularly bad over the last couple months. She feeds to sleep most nights, and if she hasn't fallen asleep she sucks my pinky to settle (won't take a dummy confused). I typically feed her 4 times between 7-6.30 but she can be up a few times on top of that - a pinky or cuddle is usually the only way to get her back to sleep if it's not a feed she's after.

I can never go out in the evenings as when she wakes up no one but me can settle her. I'm feeling really down about it, missing out on weddings or even a meal out with DH or a drink with my friends.

The problem is, DD is a SCREAMER! I mean, her whole body shakes with fury and her sheets become soaking with tears. I'm not sure how well she's going to respond but it's worth a go.

I'll probably still feed during the night if she can't be settled otherwise, but will try put her down awake.

The only issue is she is extremely windy during the night, although I suspect that's because I feed her to sleep every time and she won't bring up any wind? I wouldn't like to think I'm letting her cry in the cot of she is genuinely uncomfortable.

Any words of encouragement would be gratefully received smile

nectarina Thu 30-Apr-15 20:58:39

Klik, I'd just try it again, the next night or a couple of nights after.

nectarina Thu 30-Apr-15 20:56:13

Hi all,
I thought I would just update to give some courage to those struggling.
DD is now 4, and after all the sleep-training we did with her, was clearly just a bad sleeper. It makes me feel less like we did loads of wrong things with her when she was a baby.
With hindsight I would say to anyone struggling with a method like this, if its not working for you one night, you can give up without it having a detrimental effect on the next night if you decide to give it another go. That's what I would do. It's almost like the first night your baby is so upset that the comfiness is clearly out the window - they're angry and probably confused. The next night they're better prepared as to what's in store.
At the heart of it, this technique is for people unable/unwilling to do CIO/CC, so if you need to go slowly, so be it. Just know that your baby crying when you are there is more of a protest than one from fear!
Whatever you do, don't feel guilty when trying to get your baby's sleep under control, it's something that has to happen I think if you don't want to feed to sleep for the next couple of years....

Cooper11111 Tue 21-Apr-15 08:43:04

I think that you need to be consistent, giving in after 40 minutes teaches her that she needs to cry for a really long time to get what she wants. Leave her to cry, sit outside and go in after 5 minutes, then after 10 etc. It will work but only if you are consistent. Don't put either of you through it if you are going to cave as it isn't fair. She is old enough to not night wake now, despite what people say on here I wouldn't say it was "normal" for them to still wake/feed so frequently in the night. It may be common but that is different. You could have a very different story in a week if you consistently implement this strategy! Has to be he same for all sleeps (I would commit to all naps in the cot until it's sorted- which shouldn't be long). I sleep trained my first at 5 months and have done bits and pieces with my second and she is getting there on her own. Both very happy and healthy children- remember the crying is just protest, as long as you keep popping in and reassuring her then in the long run this will be better for her! Development is more effective in a well rested little one. Hope that helps x

Klik Mon 20-Apr-15 21:06:31

Is anyone around to handhold?

Dd2 (9 mths) has always been a bit of a Velcro baby. She's always been fed to sleep at night or rocked to sleep in the buggy for naps (or in the car seat). She's never slept for more than about 3-4 hours and is currently waking 2 hourly from about 9:30. I'm knackered and grumpy and need to do something now to help her learn to sleep better. DH has been in the spare room pretty much since before she was born.

I did gradual retreat off the back of this thread with dd1 and it worked abd I don't remember it being specially difficult.

I thought I'd give it a go with dd2 tonight. Omg. It was horrendous.

She actually fed to sleep and went down in the cot probably too asleep. I stayed in the room as I knew she'd stir within the hour. She did and I tried to just shh, stroke, talk gently etc etc. but she went ballistic. She was doing that horrid growly cry. She was so cross sad At one point I picked her up and once she'd stopped I tried putting her back down and you'd think I'd cut her arm off she screamed so much.

I caved, in tears myself, at the 40 minute mark and we're now in my bed with her suckling away doing big sobby sighs. DH came up to check on us and she went nuts again. It's obviously really stressed her out and I feel dreadful.

How on earth am I ever going to get her to stop feeding/sucking to sleep? She's always been really sucky but won't take a dummy.

Do I need to be more gradual?? How? Maybe we need a sleep consultant?

I'm not sure I could go through that crying again.


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