What worked for us. Hope this helps.

(724 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.

Nan0second Mon 18-Apr-16 13:08:03

Hi. Congrats on cracking bedtime!
No real answers as we get random wake ups here still about 3x a week!

How awake is she when she goes into cot? I found things improved for us once she learnt how to go to sleep from wide awake. Basically that meant moving bedtime routine around so milk was not the last thing. So now we do bath, milk, story, sleeping bag, teeth then cot.
That sorted out 50% of wake ups for us! (The rest are usually teeth / allergy related)

Fairy45 Fri 15-Apr-16 08:43:08

Ive done this now she can fall asleep in her cot on her own within 20 mins and with no tears. She is 10 months now. But she still wakes at some point between 12 and 3am not for anything but ive always picked her up, she falls asleep instantly when i pick her up but if i put her back in her cot within 20 mins then we will be up for an hour at least. Last night i decided to do the same as the bed time 1 but she cried real tears for an hour. I so i picked her up and she again fell instantly to sleep. Should i persevere? How come she can do it at bedtime but not in the night?

proudmom135 Mon 11-Apr-16 13:57:24

I need these! Very informative. grin

Nan0second Sun 10-Apr-16 20:10:38

Bump

Nan0second Tue 15-Mar-16 22:23:27

We had a similar rapid improvement. Hurrah. Stay strong!

SallyMischievo Tue 15-Mar-16 20:20:38

Thank you for asking! Better than expected, an hour of crying last night but only twenty minutes tonight and not nearly as distressed. I am in shock! The night waking last night was a bit of a disaster though, I ended up feeding her as she was hysterical when DP went to her and offered water. Will try to be strong tonight! :-)

Nan0second Tue 15-Mar-16 16:00:39

Hope you and DH survived ok sally?

SallyMischievo Mon 14-Mar-16 19:40:07

Thank you, Nan0! DP is in the thick of it as I type! He bravely offered to do the first night. Biggest congratulations on your breakthrough!

Nan0second Mon 14-Mar-16 16:14:25

Your call but I wouldn't use either. If you introduce a new sleep prop at bedtime, then you'll have to wean that off. Also it makes middle of the night harder as she won't have actually learned to settle herself.
I wouldn't use a projector either as way too stimulating!
How much night feeding is happening? You may struggle to night wean and stop feeding to sleep simultaneously if she's then hungry in the middle of the night? If it's just a few sucks here and there for settling then obviously that's different to full feeds. If full feeds then you might want to do one thing at a time?
Be strong! You can do this. My DD has slept from 7pm to between 5am and 7am for FOUR nights in a row! I feel amazing smile

SallyMischievo Mon 14-Mar-16 15:42:56

We are about to try this routine tonight with 15 month old DD who has always been breastfed to sleep. I was going to breastfeed her and then put her in the cot awake but feel as though this is just drawing out the process and we should just introduce a cup of milk at bedtime at the same time as starting the sleep training. I phased out all other feeds apart from bedtime and night feeds before Christmas and have really just kept the nighttime ones going as a means of getting her off to sleep and settling her when she wakes. But I have a pressing question! We have always had the harp music setting of Ewan the Dream Sleep on whilst I feed her and she falls asleep on the boob. Should we put this on when I put her in the cot? Also we have bought her a star projector. Have this on or too much of a distraction? Thank you for any advice!

JennyPie33 Sat 12-Mar-16 04:11:47

The best thing that's worked for us with our daughter (toddler) is reading her a bedtime story (called The Kitten Who Wants to Fall Asleep) which has been written using psychological sleep methods. It's an actual story, but hidden in the story are trigger words that psychologists use to relax people and make them feel sleepy. I must admit, whenever I read this book to her I start nodding off myself, but that is probably because I'm on the go all day. Anyway, just reading her the story works like magic and puts her to sleep every time. Seriously!

Nan0second Wed 09-Mar-16 19:35:20

It is hard. DD took 72 very long minutes on the first night. I knew that we had to do it. (I was hallucinating from sleep deprivation).
My husband was totally on board though.
Honestly, please keep going if you can.
Sending a huge huge hug xxx

tiredybear Wed 09-Mar-16 14:20:17

oh no, so sorry to hear it's not going well. Don't give up! You WILL get sleep again.
I've been on here a bit about my LO who was always a terrible sleeper. Now he's actually starting to sleep better, which I never thought would happen. It's always been two steps fwd one step back though.

Did you change the time and where you fed her, as well as trying this idea? If so, maybe it was too many changes at once? Can anyone else give you a hand? I totally get the anger and it really helps if my OH can come in and take over for a bit....

Purpleboa Tue 08-Mar-16 21:16:56

Well, think this is a solution only for the very strong (and the not tired!) Disaster here. DD is screaming and I mean inconsolable. I have already flipped out and shouted at her. I can't do this. I cannot do this. I can't imagine lasting 45 minutes!!

Back to the fucking drawing board...and grim acceptance that I am never going to get any sleep or a night to myself again, and it's all my own fault.

Nan0second Tue 08-Mar-16 15:56:33

Perfect. The main thing is to have a plan!

Purpleboa Tue 08-Mar-16 11:07:06

Thanks for the quick response Nano!

Eek ok! Kinda scared to start! Right now we do co sleeping as part of the night so we are getting a bit of sleep. I know that doing it this way is going to require a lot of energy which I really don't have. Not sure how to get around that.

More practically, I have a busy week planned so I don't think it's the best time. Also want to go through it with DH so he's on board as it will be disruptive to us both. Going to move towards it then start properly after I'm back from my parents. From what I've read here, consistency is key, and I just won't be able to guarantee that for the next ten days.

Nan0second Tue 08-Mar-16 10:53:30

There's never a good time! I wouldn't wait til you've moved to be honest as it's just delaying stuff. The main thing is consistency and stopping feeding to sleep and putting down totally awake. Feeding downstairs seems a good idea.
You don't need to night wean but it is worth trying to settle in the cot (send in dad?) each time to make sure it's hunger. I also put her back in the cot after every feed until at least 5am.
Personally I didn't do naps at the same time as I knew it wouldn't work if she was overtired so continued these in the pushchair.
Just start tonight! (Expect a wobble at your parents and when you're home though)
Massive hug (even though that isn't very mumsnetty)

Purpleboa Tue 08-Mar-16 09:33:21

Hi all. I've been sign posted to this thread quite a lot now, so thought I really should take notice!

I'm pretty desperate and this seems to have a high success rate! I need to change something as DD, now 8 months, is getting worse not better with sleep.

A few questions which I'd be so grateful if anyone could answer:

I am going to stay with my parents for a week next week. So routine always gets disrupted there. Probably best to wait till after we are back?

We move house at the end of this month. I'm guessing this is going to have a major impact on her sleep. Should I wait till we are moved in before trying this?

In the meantime, I thought I'd make a few small changes. Bedtime is currently 730 (when I start feeding her to sleep). Going to push this to 7.15 to start with. Also plan to fees her downstairs then take her up and try and settle her. So moving away from feeding to sleep.

Do you think this sounds Ok?

Nan0second Sun 06-Mar-16 18:05:53

So... Teething and trying to crawl continue to challenge but remains on 1 feed a night and has now slept through twice!
She seems to definitely need two naps but I am now waking her at 12 as she wants 4hours wake time and then has 30mins at 4pm.
Keep plugging on...

Nan0second Sun 28-Feb-16 20:03:36

So after returning from our trip away, everything is going so much better. She's back to going to sleep with max 2 mins of fuss (with me out the room!) and even slept through for one night!
She's reliably down to one feed a nigh too (and I reckon we could ditch that if I manned up but I'm not ready lol).
First nap of the day is easy. In pushchair still but requiring minimal input from me if timed correctly (3 hours from wake up appears optimal) to get to sleep and usually has 90mins - 2 hours. Second nap is becoming increasingly difficult though. I think she's not tired enough for it 3-4 hours after waking but any later than that and I'm worried it will ruin bedtime. However it's too long to be awake and she gets exhausted and grumpy if she doesn't have it.
Plus she's 9months - surely too early to drop to one nap?!

tiredybear Mon 22-Feb-16 21:30:01

outabout - It's working?! Yay! The exhaustion is all consuming so we;; done that you're finally getting to the other side.

Yes, I talk my LO through what I'm doing when he goes down to sleep. It definitely helps.

It was beginning to work out ok for us, but he's now hit teething again so is understandably a very grouchy boy. Generally things overall are still better though, so I'm just gonna go with it...he really needed to be in bed with me nursing last night as that was the only thing that would calm him. Toothache sucks!

Outaboutnowt Mon 22-Feb-16 20:04:27

Sorry you're having a rough time with your babies nan0 and tiredy
How are you doing today?

I've just come to update because we're having small victories and I have no one IRL who remotely cares about the exhaustion haha.
Last night (night 2) DS woke three times and settled again within a couple of minutes of me being there so a definite improvement. He got up properly at about 6.40.

I've also managed to get him to go down in his cot for a nap for the last two days which I've NEVER been able to do - I've always had to lie down with him and cuddle for ages and if I moved from his side he would wake up. Which obviously has made getting anything done around the house difficult.

Tonight is night 3 and I put him down at about quarter past 7, he always has a little tantrum when I put him in his cot so I thought I'd just 'potter' round his room a bit and tidy clothes away etc, he stopped crying immediately. I did this for literally a minute and when I turned to look at him he was asleep.

Will see how we go tonight and I'm not holding my breath as I think he probably is planning one final act of rebellion but so far this is working for us and it doesn't feel like he is distressed in any way, we've had a go at CC in the past (admittedly for about 15 minutes as I just couldn't stand it) but that definitely wasn't for us.

I've found something that helps is if I make a big deal of closing the curtains when I put him to bed or down for a nap and talk him through what I'm doing e.g "let's close the curtains because we're going to have a nice nap now" and when I get him up in the morning or from a nap I say "let's open the curtains now because it's time to get up". It seems to be a good cue for bedtime and not playtime as we do sometimes play in his room - so I don't want him to get confused!

Thank you all for posting on this thread and to the OP because I was struggling a lot with his sleep for months - night feeds seemed to go on forever and he teeths by getting one tooth at a time so I feel your pain! Like you I've had to hold off any techniques because of colds and teething etc. We've also just moved and have been waiting to move for a couple of months so it's been difficult to be motivated set up any type of bedtime routine when you know it'll all go tits up during the move anyway. But finally I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel (which I never thought I would)

Hope your little ones settle a bit more soon!

tiredybear Sun 21-Feb-16 14:22:18

Outabout...-Fantastic news. Stay strong!

Nan0 - yeah, always best to try a new routine when things have settled a bit.

My LO is NOT happy that I've tried to drop the 4am feed. He was awake and screaming from then and refused to settle again. Joy.

Nan0second Sun 21-Feb-16 11:49:04

outabout wow that's brilliant. Bet you're exhausted. However this will pay off rapidly I think! Stay strong!

We are having a terrible time. Trying to crawl, teething and a bit snotty plus we've been away for 4 nights. I'm exhausted and at the end of my tether. I probably need to do the process for naps and encourage her to drop the second night feed but it's all a bit too much at present. Just keeping on settling her in the cot though...

Outaboutnowt Sun 21-Feb-16 09:38:21

Thanks tiredy - I started it last night and a battle of wills it was! He woke up 4 times and every time I waited about 5 minutes then went into his room and sat by the cot instead of just bringing him into our bed. He was a bit cross with me that I wasn't picking him up and cried and shouted 'no!' for about 10 minutes until he laid down and went to sleep. I held his hand a couple of times too to reassure him. But I'm happy because he stayed in his cot til half 7 smile (this has never ever happened) it feels like a step forward at least.

All seems to be forgiven today and he is his usual bouncy self but I'm ready for round two tonight! I am shattered today though!

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