What worked for us. Hope this helps.

(659 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.

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.


FarToGo Sun 11-May-14 20:50:42

This could be my saviour, I'm exhausted after 2 months of incessant night wakings and feeding to sleep.
My daughter is 10 months old and was a good sleeper until 8 months. She would self settle happily and sleep right through mostly.
One night she just changed.
Now she has to be fed to sleep or it's screaming. She can wake up to 20 times a night and it's always accompanied by crying. Sometimes every 20 minutes or so.

The rub is that she is still in our room as we're in a one bed flat. We are due to move hopefully in the next few weeks where she will have her own room, upstairs, so it'll be a massive change.

Shall I just griz it out until then and start or do it now? (well after she's gotten over her cold)
Also, can my husband and I alternate nights or is it best to keep to the same parent every night?


carolinementzer Sun 11-May-14 13:15:34

We did this with my DD at 15 months, well infact my husband did it as she wouldn't take it from me (breastfeeding addict!). My husband actually set up a camp bed next to her cot and would just soothe with voice alone. It took 5 nights and then she was sleeping 8pm-5am. We never had to do the moving the chair thing. After a few weeks we extended it to the full night! It was fantastic! Here's our story if anyone's interested - mydaughterwontsleep.com/2014/02/06/is-breast-best-when-it-comes-to-sleep-apparently-not/

andabookaboutsandwiches Mon 05-May-14 20:32:48

Have spent ages searching for this thread this evening, so glad I've found it! Going to start tomorrow smile

mumofmunchkin Sun 04-May-14 05:06:53

Thank you so much for this. I had reached the end with ds waking every 1.5-2 hrs all night. I had avoided all sleep training up to now as i am not willing to let him cry, full stop, and have not done it strictly in that if he cries I pick him up for a cuddle just until he's calmed down, but have been amazed to see him put himself to sleep!. I didn't go in with the intention of night weaning, just of reducing wake ups to a sane level, and I'm here on night 3 with ds only having woken at 10pm and 5 am. That's the longest he's EVER slept at night and he's just dropping back off now. In his own cot and not in our bed :D He is just over 8 months.

fflonkl Fri 11-Apr-14 22:30:04

Hello all haven't been on Mumsnet much as have gone back to work now but thought I'd give an update. DD (12 months) is now regularly sleeping through but on average sleeps about 10.15 hours; the longest stretch she has ever done is about 11 hours so as she goes to sleep at about 7.45pm I have ditched my alarm clock in favour of her as she wakes me up without fail every morning between 6-6.30am!

I have only made it as far as sitting on the bed next to her cot I'm afraid. I did think about moving farther but to be honest she now goes to sleep so quickly it didn't seem to be worth the effort, and in fact as I'm not with her during the day anymore I quite enjoy sitting next to her waiting for her to go to sleep. Nursery is definitely tiring her out, but even at weekends she usually nods off quite quickly - she did hold out for 45 minutes once but we were away then and the novelty of an unknown cot was too exciting!

Anyway what I normally do is this: lie her down on her tummy in her cotbed and tell her to go to sleep, and that "mummy will stay here with you until you fall asleep". Some nights, she will move around the cot for a bit, then go quiet and fall asleep.

Other nights she will babble and stand up looking at me whilst holding on to the bar. On these nights she sometimes will lie back down on her own, and then eventually fall asleep. Sometimes she refuses to lie down and has a whinge, so I have to lie her down again; I may have to do this a few times before she eventually goes to sleep.

She does move around a lot during the night, and has got a never-ending cold with a pretty bad cough but has (so far!!) managed to settle herself back to sleep even after a bout of coughing. The last time she needed help going back to sleep after waking up was about 10 days ago - when I went back to sleep in my own bedroom after a year of sleeping in the same room with her!

Bit long, but thought I'd give a proper update! Hope everyone is seeing a little/some progress with their LOs!

WestieMamma Fri 11-Apr-14 20:54:10

DS has the occasional night where it feels like we're back where we started. Then the next night he's fine again. I wouldn't worry about it too much unless it's happening every night. I leave DS to sleep how he lands but I have him in a sleep sack rather than blankets.

grainmum Thu 10-Apr-14 19:41:53

What do you do when their final sleeping position is face down on top of the blankets, head buried in blankets?

grainmum Tue 08-Apr-14 11:43:57

Oh dear, just when we thought we were getting somewhere we seem to be back to square one. Last night at bed-time DS was really quite upset so I ended up going back to lay him down again and pat his back until he was almost asleep. He then woke at 10, 1 and 4 at which point I caved and fed him, he then went back into the cot though which I suppose is something.

What to do? Start at the beginning again? Try a dream feed see if we can get him to go through until morning (I don't think this would work as even when he was feeding several times per night he'd wake up after 3-4 hours)? Try controlled crying (tried before but couldn't really stick to it)? Some people have said to my DH that pick up put down "changed their lives" - try this? Or just keep going but with more resolve and refuse to feed - the thing is he was screaming at me, I couldn't just sit there for much longer and I don't think he would have settled anyway.


grainmum Sun 06-Apr-14 18:52:06

I always think the self-settling is a good sign and think maybe "tonight's the night". Here's hoping tonight is good again.

Sunbeam18 Sun 06-Apr-14 17:35:18

Sounds good, grainmum. Well, he woke and self settled a couple of times after the marathon session getting him down. He took 1hr 45 mins to get down initially (8 till 945) and so then self settled twice between then and 130. I had a fail at 130 and just bf him and took him in with me because I'm too blinking soft . He went back to sleep until 615 when he was up for day. So, a good night but I didn't play by the rules...

grainmum Sun 06-Apr-14 16:01:45

hi sunbeam how did it go? I was back downstairs by 7:05 pm last night, wondered what was happening. One wake up at around 3 then up for the day 5.40. It was DH overnight last night so he held him until really drowsy then put him down. When it's me I still tend to regress a few steps at night (go back to patting etc) so I need more will power!

Jemimapuddlemuck Sat 05-Apr-14 23:29:29

Hi Sunbeam, I think still waking in the night at 9 months is pretty normal, it was certainly the case here. But I know the feeling of being adrift in a sea of 12 hour sleepers and wondering what you're doing wrong!
This technique did really help for me, I think the difficult part is being consistent on night waking, it does take some will power.
We are on day 2, last night she went to sleep pretty well, woke at 4.30 and I did give her a bottle but the fact that she then went back to sleep quietly is big progress compared to the last few weeks, when going anywhere near the cot has brought her to meltdown point!
I hope everyone has nice easy nights tonight smile

Sunbeam18 Sat 05-Apr-14 23:19:57

This sounds like a great and supportive thread. Fingers crossed it works for us. Our story: DS is 9 months. He was a pretty good sleeper until 4 months then it all went crazy. He gets combo of bf and bottle for milk. He takes bottle about 730 after his bath and then goes onto boob to fall asleep. I transfer him to cot. If it's DP's night to put him down then he gets bottle and falls asleep on him without boob. He is pretty much always asleep by 8. He wakes consistently at 130 and about 4 and we feed him and co sleep (in turns in his room on sofa bed) from first wake up. It can take a long time to get him back to sleep at the 4am wake, often an hour. He wakes for the day at 730. Is this bad or normal for 9 months ? We are surrounded by people whose babies sleep 8-8 and so are despondent and knackered. But not sure if we are out of perspective.

Sunbeam18 Sat 05-Apr-14 23:01:49

Marking place. Trying this tonight for first time. Took about 1 hr 45 to get him to sleep. Dreading wake ups...

WestieMamma Fri 04-Apr-14 20:31:55

'much, much slowly'? What sort of rubbish English is that? blush

WestieMamma Fri 04-Apr-14 20:30:40

I'm still lurking. We've got the chair just outside the bedroom door now. Next step will be pulling the door to. We've done it much, much slowly than it says in the OP.

Grainmum I've only just seen your previous post about reducing touch. What we do is leave him entirely to himself apart from the occasion 'lie down and go sleep, it's night nights time' mantra. If he gets upset then try to just use voice and if that doesn't work only then do we touch him and only enough to stop the upset, then withdraw again.

grainmum Fri 04-Apr-14 19:29:21

oh good, company again! I'm at the door of the room now. We've done it a bit slower than described, but there is gradual improvement. We still have good and bad nights but I think the general trend is better. Last night DS slept from 8 til 9.15, settled again fairly quickly then slept til 4.50. At that point he seemed wide awake so the only way to get a bit more sleep seemed to be to bring him into bed for a feed, and after a while we both drop off. Not sure if it's the best thing to do or if I should just get him up for the day. For me the extra little bit of rest seems helpful!

Jemimapuddlemuck Thu 03-Apr-14 23:45:22

Well I followed this post just before christmas and had great success and we were almost getting regular sleeping through the night. Unfortunately after a recent trip abroad jet lag has set in and we are back to square one. So am marking my place to start again as it's by far the most effective technique I've come across. My DD is 11 months.

grainmum Tue 25-Mar-14 11:36:28

I feel like we're making no progress and I really need sleep. Last night asleep at 7.30, awake at 10 (brief), 11 (about an hour in total), 1.15 (about 10 mins) then 4.30 (40 mins). Awake for the day at 7.10. Wondering if I need to reduce my touch more at bedtime so he becomes more independent for night wakings?

grainmum Mon 24-Mar-14 19:05:23

Saturday night was DH turn. DS woke frequently in the evening but settled himself all those times. I think DH was up with him 2 or 3 times. Last night I felt was awful sad . I can't remember exactly what happened. I think I was up 2 or 3 times, I know at 5.30 I gave up and took him into bed. I'm not even sure that I woke when he did or how long I lay in bed once he woke up. I hate the thought of ignoring him sad

WestieMamma Mon 24-Mar-14 09:52:38

I've got my seat near the door but can't quite summon the courage to move it out. I might be brave enough tonight. I don't lay DS back down when he stands though, I leave him to do that himself.

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