Ok, so without crying what are my options?

(29 Posts)

Read the rather heated thread about CC the other week and don't think CC is for me. Also baby is 5.5 months so probably too small.

But she is very set in her ways. Feeds to sleep or gets walked round and jiggled, up and down stairs is best, until she is asleep. I am now struggling to carry her for long enough, sometimes it can be 1.5 hours walking for a 30 mins nap. But any deviation from this and she screams and screams. Purple in the face, real tears screaming. I've never lasted morecthan a few mins but i just know she would go for hours if i left it.

Just got the Millpond book and don't get why everyone reccomends it. Diagnosis is fine but the solution is CC or gradual withdrawal. Basically every story / case study starts with "on day 1 baby cried for 2 hours / 1 hour / too long and mum backed out....." i am trying to avoid this.

So far i have tried:

pantley put down. DD wakes up fully as soon as she hits the cot and starts screaming
Pick up put down. Tgis really drives DD mad, it's like i'm teasing her by picking her up but then not rocking her and walking round. The screams are piercing.
Gradual withdrawal. Tried this in conjunction with pantley and all that happens is i lie cuddling her while she screams. Then i give up.

I know the commin factor here is me giving up so i guess i just need to know if there is a genuine no cry sleep solution. Given the one in the book of that name didn't really work.

amarylisnightandday Sun 04-Nov-12 22:35:05

Bin the books. I haven't read pantley but TH couldn't help me at that age. Dd was a pain at 5.5 months - I know it was that exact age because I whined to my HV a lot! Her sage advice was hang in there until you get into weaning and then things will sort themselves out. She was right - started weaning at 6 months - dd sleeping through the night at 7 and bring less of a pain for daytime naps though they were always more of a struggle.

1.5 hours is a v long time to get baby to sleep. Have you tried moving the nap back? Out in the pram/car? Any joy?

rhetorician Sun 04-Nov-12 22:37:10

oh dear - you are tormenting yourself, and your baby is still really wee. How does she sleep when she finally goes? Why don't you just feed her to sleep and then gradually pull her off sleepy etc. It worked for us - we got dd2 (now 11 months) to the point where I could pat her off to sleep in her cot without too much trouble (there's been back-sliding since then, but that's another story).

Sit down and think about what you want to achieve, within what timeframe (e.g. are there issues about returning to work/partner's work schedule etc?) and what you are prepared to do to get there. You may feel differently about some crying in a few months' time (dd is now 11 months, still a bad sleeper - partly due to us taking line of least resistance - and we are fast approaching sleep training - we were recommended a method which involves settling her, leaving room, counting to 10 and then returning to comfort/reasssure; repeat - presumably for a couple of hours - until she goes to sleep. But you are not leaving her to cry , or to be alone, and returning to comfort her).

There is a remedy that doesn't involve crying: time - possibly rather a lot of it!

Really, she is still small, she wants you near her

BertieBotts Sun 04-Nov-12 22:38:27

I wonder if there's something physically stopping her from falling asleep lying down - does she sleep lying down at all, how does she sleep for naps for example? Does she have reflux or anything like that (that you know of)?

Will she feed to sleep without fail, or is it when feeding to sleep fails that you end up having to carry her about for so long?

If there really was a reliable method of sleep training which didn't involve crying, especially for the (quite common) issue you describe, the inventor would be minted, CC/CIO would disappear into the annals of 'the bad old days' and this whole forum would probably grind to a complete halt while all of its occupants finally got some shut-eye.

I toughed-out gradual withdrawal after all of the 'no cry' suggestions failed and it did work, although I think I'm going to have to repeat the process once DS gets over this cold. I'm sick at the thought, but the alternative, where I get an hour (max) of sleep followed by 40-60 minutes of holding in a cycle throughout the night is absolutely unbearable for me - complete torture and I'm a crap mum during the day. He also screams inconsolably and unstoppably when tired so I didn't really see the difference between that and a sleep training method involving some short term increase in crying with a view to eliminating these meltdowns in the longer term - which it did.

I say all that not to convince you to try a crying method (it's absolutely horrible and I don't blame you for balking) but to show some solidarity that others of us have also tried, and failed, to find the holy grail of sleep training. I agree with rhetorician - I think the only real 'no cry sleep solution' is time and hoping they do sort themselves out. I'd probably be in my box by now if I waited for time to sort things out.

Yep - writing this at quarter to three in the morning, willing DS into a deeper sleep so I can get him back in the cot. This is the third time I've done it tonight. I'll probably be checking back in around four. He won't be crying, but I'd like to.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 05-Nov-12 03:45:16

I've an 11month old that wakes to feed. I can't leave her to cry as they share as room. A problem I'm now having is me feeding her doesn't seem to solve everything anymore and no idea how to settle her!

ComradeJing Mon 05-Nov-12 04:11:45

DD was exactly the same.

CC & PUPD didn't work. DD would get more hysterical and it felt like I was teasing her. Horrible.

I never "got" the Pantely method either. DD wanted to feed or rock to deep sleep so we never managed anything less.

She also woke up every 40 minutes which killed me. And then took an hour, at least, to go back down. I couldn't cope with the lack of naps or constant broken sleep at night.

There were a few things that did eventually work though:

Cosleeping: DD could just bf through the night without either of us really waking up.

Finishing BFing: Stopped at around 8 months. Meant she had no option but to fall asleep without bfing. It did mean that she wanted to be walked/rocked to sleep so her sleep was still shit but at least I didn't have that horrible frustrated feeling of being a human dummy.

Being COMPLETELY consistent: Doesn't matter what option you choose, this is crucial. Obviously though, don't push on with something that isn't working and is upsetting you. By isn't working I mean your DC has equally poor sleep after 3 plus days.

ComradeJing Mon 05-Nov-12 04:24:17

This was what we actually did though. We did each step for about 3 days and only moved to the next step once DD was comfortable with that step OR started to wake up more again. I reasoned that she was waking up more because she had become used to me saying shhhh or patting her.

-Sit down, put DD on your lap and pat her chest rhythmically and say Shhhhhh and jiggle your leg. Use the leg jiggling to get her to sleep. IIRC DD was fine with this.

-As above but DON'T jiggle your leg. Keep still apart from patting her chest. DD did get upset but I kept going at it. If she got more than a little upset I said, "I'm here, I love you" repeatedly in a gentle tone (but as loud as I needed to so she could hear me) until she calmed down.

Next step was harder

-Put her into the cot and pat her chest and say shhh as above. DD didn't like this and did get upset but I reasoned that I was right there and was touching her so she knew I was close.

-Next step was to say shhh and just put my hand on her chest and only pat if she got upset. She didn't get upset.

-As above (saying shhh) and not to touch unless she gets upset.

At that point you can either just move away a little each night or stop saying shh and then move away a little each night.

I also got sick of saying shhh so got an ipad white noise app and left that near her.

YES DD did cry. But I was right there the whole time. She had my hands on her for most of it. She could hear me. She was not left alone, she didn't get MORE hysterical. However - she didn't get her own way for how she wanted to go to sleep.

HTH.

helebear Mon 05-Nov-12 04:42:09

My dd was very similar too.reaching an all time low at about a year when shed wake half a dozen times/ night as she was totally unable to self settle without being fed or rocked back to sleep. CC was awful when we tried it, shes very stubborn & she'd cry for 2 hours on the few nights that we did try it & would then be hysterical & totally wound up with her heart racing & no-one is going to go to sleep with that much adrenalin pumping around! I bought 'the no cry sleep solution' book. It's not a quick fix & you do need to read most of the book (bar the sections on sleep issues that don't apply) and it was hard to engage with it when I was so tired and just wanted someone to tell me what to do. But it basically makes you do a sleep audit & consider everything around your child's sleep & suggests ways to create a good sleep routine. Then it's just about being consistent for weeks & establishing new habits & sleep associations. I seem to recall there's a sections about weaning off breast feeding to sleep & rocking to sleep. It helped us to figure out small things like having been happy in one from 8 weeks she no longer liked being in a grobag & we introduced a cuddly toy which she now sleeps with & gets comfort from in the night, all small things that helped. Good luck!

teacher123 Mon 05-Nov-12 09:19:47

Stupid question but do you have a predictable routine? My DS was not a good sleeper and is still hit and miss at 6 months, but the things that helped were:
1) Getting a good nap routine in the day-DS has two naps, one about 2 1/2 hours after he wakes, one about 2 1/2 hours after that. Before he was 4 1/2 months he had never slept in the daytime at home, however I knew when he was tired so always took him on a walk/drive at those times. This meant that we got out of the cycle of over tiredness.
2) what time is bedtime? Could she be overtired? DS has to be asleep by 6pm or it's the end of the world. I spent weeks trying to keep him up till 7pm, then he would take 2 hours to settle.
3) bedtime routine that is consistent. I always thought that I would be a parent who would be happy to be really flexible with bedtimes/routines etc, nothing could be further from the truth. 6 months of almost no sleep will do that for you I think!
4) keeping them upstairs in the dark until morning. I do not put on any lights or bring DS downstairs after his bath/final feed until I deem that it is morning (6.30/7am). We are going through a lovely phase at the moment of him waking up at 3.15 on. The. Dot. Then taking about an hour to settle down. He doesn't do it every night, but probably 2 or 3 times per week. No matter how annoying it is or tempting it is to take him downstairs and let him play/watch abadas on I player, I refuse to because then he will think its playtime in the middle of the night and I want him to think waking up at 3am is boring!

Hope it improves soon, the sad thing is that I don't think that there is a way to change things without them crying at all. Babies like being cuddled/fed to sleep. Who wouldn't?! I am currently breaking my heart over my decision to give up breastfeeding and I keep randomly crying as I know that DS is going to be so sad and so am I. But if you are at breaking point, that is no good for your little one either. Good luck!

ComradeJing Mon 05-Nov-12 10:13:46

Oh YY to teacher.

My rule was that lights were off and no playtime between 7pm and 6am. Even if it meant sitting in the dark for a few hours.

Thank you!

Sounds crazy but it's just nice to hear that i'm not majorily missing a trick or doing something wrong!

So, basically the answer is that there isn't really a cry free way. Loved the point about whoever figures one out getting very rich! So true.

My objective is to get 6-7 hours in a stretch by the time i am back at work early Feb. i don't do the sort of job you can do whilst sleep deprived and have already put back my return to work because i couldn't see it working with the current situation.

My sleep audit: i have 2 main problems, naps and nightfeeds

She gets about 2 30 minute naps a day and is climbing the walls by bed. Bedtime is quite easy but feeding her to sleep. Thing is we started trying to get her down at 8.30am for a 9am nap. Finally got her down at 11! She'll be awake in a minute. I'm going to hover by her got to try to soothe her into another cycle.

The consequence of her not settling for naps is that any routine goes out of the window. Vicious circle. And pushchair or car don't work. Guess what? Yup, she screams in both of them.hmm

Nightfeeds - 10pm, 12.30am, 3/4am and then a firm belief it's time to get up at 5am. I bring her in to co-sleep at 5am just to prolong my sleep a bit, but the quality of sleep is rubbish and it squashes DP out (we are all 3 quite small and it's a kingsize bed but still, made for 2!)

So, i guess the question is what is the likelihood of her self settling naturally at 9 months?

should I see what impact weaning, moving into her own room etc have before i try anything else?

She is little, 25th percentile so i think she may really need nightfeeds, or at least one, because her stomach is small.

Thanks for the support.

teacher123 Mon 05-Nov-12 12:51:26

One more thing I would suggest but will get flamed for is to try an experiment. Once you have a solid evening routine established, one evening do whatever your routine is - eg bath, cuddle, feed etc and then just put her in bed, awake, give her a kiss and leave the room. Go downstairs and have a cup of tea. She may surprise you and settle after a relatively short amount of time. I realised with DS that I was using a variety of props to try and get him to sleep, eg rocking, cuddling, feeding, dummy etc and all that stimulation was making him worse! I was inconsistent in what I tried which meant that he got confused about what was supposed to happen next. The first night I tried what I've suggested to you, I sat on the sofa with my ear next to the monitor, convinced he was going to sob for hours and that I was a terrible mother. He was asleep within 10 minutes. And yes there was some shouting, but he wasnt crying hysterically, he was just a bit cross. Since then I have found that if he drops off whilst feeding we have a terrible night, and if he puts himself to sleep he sleeps much better. If she becomes hysterical then obviously go up and comfort, but leave it a couple of minutes. I think that with DS I wound him up. He now can't sleep if I'm in the room with him, ironically.

Our babies are about the same age and we're going back to work at the same time, so I guess I'm pretty well placed to comment on this smile

Firstly, I'm happy to feed to sleep. I try and use that to my advantage. How come you're concerned about it? If it's the old 'rod for your own back'...well, I don't see it that way. I figure for a good few years I'll be giving him a cuddle before bedtime and I kind of think of a BF as fitting into that category for now. Are you worried about how she'd sleep at nursery/childminder's? Don't be - the professionals know how to deal with these things. We've started DS at nursery a few half days this past week and he sleeps brilliantly there. No idea how. Can only assume it's the Dark Arts because I don't recall don't recall detaching my boobs and leaving them there.

Secondly, two half hour naps, as you're obviously aware, is not enough so she's probably overtired which is probably why it takes ages for her to go to sleep, and is a ticking time bomb of grump. The way I cracked naps was by realising that DS really can't stay awake for longer than two hours. He has no daytime routine (not for lack of trying, I hasten to point out) but what I do do, is take note of what time he wakes up (usually ungodly, although, this is a current project as well), count 1.5ish hours, then start looking for sleepy cues (yawning, eye rubbing, grizzly). The second I see even the tiniest one, I wrap him in a blanket - the same one, every time in the hope that it will develop a portable sleep association and so he knows what's expected when The Blanket appears. Then I feed him to sleep and stick him, blanket and all, into his pram or cot. He also only sleeps for half an hour at a time, but I'll get a minimum of three, but usually four, naps into him this way. This is how I use feeding to sleep to my advantage, because, once I started doing this, getting him down at night actually improved and his day time fretfulness disappeared almost overnight.

Thirdly - I'm with you on night feedings. I think they're still needed at this age. Mine's a monster, so I figure he needs the fuel to keep outgrowing clothes at the rate he is and to learn the new tricks he's acquiring on a daily basis. I don't intend to do anything about night-weaning until he's over six months, and see if anything like solids or time at nursery does anything to change this (this is me not holding my breath). If it's still an issue in January, say, I'll crack out the gradual withdrawal/camping out again, since that's worked before and I'm happy(ish..well not really but you know what I mean) with it.

Fourthly - if you gaze into your crystal ball, that should tell you if it will all be sorted by 9 months. wink Honestly - look at the sleep forum. There's ages of kids up to around five years with won't-go-to-sleep-itis. It might sort itself out, but it might not, and unfortunately you're just going to have to make the extremely tough decision as to whether you risk playing wait and see, or whether you do something about it before then. In my case, I had to do something about it, and will continue to do something about it as the alternative is utterly, utterly intolerable for me.

Hope there's something of use in all that smile

Fairylea Mon 05-Nov-12 17:25:13

Feed to sleep and bedtime routine! And don't worry about the daytime naps... I would say if its taking an hour or so to get them to nap they probably weren't wanting the nap then in the first place.

My ds is 5 months. The day begins at 5.30am so he's decided so I just go with it and get up. He has one big bottle of formula and then a play on the play gym / play with me etc.....7ish he gets grumpy so I feed him another bottle and half way through he goes to sleep. I put him down for nap in his bouncy chair or on his sheepskin covered in a sheet on the floor to nap. He sleeps about half an hour.

From then on I just feed and play and carry him about popping him in the bouncy chair or high chair (that reclines) so he can watch what I'm doing. Or we might go out. If he seems grumpy I feed basically.

If he's a bit tired I will pop a dummy in and rock him in the bouncy chair if he doesn't fall asleep the relax does him good and then I change his nappy and start all over again !! I don't try and make him sleep at all.

Some days he sleeps 2 hours a time (but no more) and sometimes like today he's only slept 20mins all day as we have had a busy day with visitors etc.

When it gets to 4pm I do him a bath and by then he is so knackered I give him his bedtime bottle by his cot in the dark and he is sleepy I put him down and stroke his head and leave the room. He then sleeps through till morning.

I did this with dd too and she was the same

I appreciate maybe I have been lucky but I try and go with the flow and keep them busy busy during the day and keep changing what they are doing etc.

Fairylea Mon 05-Nov-12 17:27:10

Sorry I meant to add bedtime is 5pm. Any later and he goes mad!!!

Fairylea I think you've had some very lucky lightening strike twice there - easy settlers and sleeping through the night? Never even come remotely close to either. You may remove yourself from this thread. wink

Fairylea Mon 05-Nov-12 20:56:57

Sorry... I feel bad for posting now (oops).

I just wanted to say I don't think napping is something to get worked up about.... I have no idea if that's made a difference for me and maybe I am just lucky but I'd never spend time rocking and sshing a baby to sleep... if they're crying then I cuddle them till they are calm then go and do something else and forget about the nap. The same way that if I can't sleep then I get up and watch tv or go and have a drink... then I might fancy sleeping again a bit later.

Elphaba, there are 2 reasons i want to get away from feeding to sleep. The main one is that it's starting to not work. I now have 2 or 3 times a week where it doesn't work and then i am left pacing the floor for anything up to 2 hours. It seems to be happening with increasing regularity and i fear will become the norm.

The other reason is that i think it will lead to habit in the night feeds. Last night she woke at 12.30 and fed back to sleep by 1am. Then she woke again at 2.15 and it was another 30 mins feeding to sleep. She wasn't hungry, it's just she doesn't know any other way to sleep. If i had stopped feeding to sleep and cracked self settling i just think / hope she could have woken at 2.15 and drifted back to sleep either on her own or with my hand on her or something.

Fairylea, i get your point on naps and i think i would be as sanguine if i had 12 hours of DD sleeping but i haven't had more than a 3 hour stretch in 5 months so am prepared to fix naps if that is what will help.

Sorry if i sound crotchety but i have spent most of today trying to get her to sleep. I think her 3rd tooth is coming through and she is really struggling.

Fairylea If you can cuddle your crying babies, they stop crying and then you can carry on with whatever you were doing, either playing with them or they sit quietly in a bouncer, they're not the same creatures that OP and I have been blessed with. A baby who has had 12 hours unbroken sleep is going to cope a great deal better on only a 20 minute nap during the day as that probably is all they need. Our little darlings are up multiple times a night and mine, at least, goes into a rabid, inconsolable fury if he doesn't nap regularly, which cuddles and head stroking cannot touch (nor anything else for that matter - one of these episodes once lasted two hours until he passed out despite every conceivable attempt at soothing on our parts). As he can't get himself to nap, I have to help him to do that, and do it at regular intervals or it's horribly, horribly distressing for all of us. Seriously, what are you even doing on this forum - your life sounds amazing! grin (envy)

OP - not knowing a great deal about these things but, again drawing on my own experience, if your DD is feeding for half an hour during night wakings, that sounds to me like a genuine feed rather than a comfort suck to resettle. When DS used to sleep on my lap, he'd do a comfort suck occasionally which was literally suck, suck, suck, drop off heavily asleep. His night wakings are definitely full feeds, as he'll often drain both sides, which he doesn't even do during the day, being a one-side-man usually. I've also had some instances where the feeding to sleep hasn't worked, but it has generally resolved itself, especially once I got the feed into his 'right, you are going to sleep now' nap 'routines' (for want of a better word). A walk around or a quiet sit on my lap for twenty minutes (or even less) I've also found helpful i.e. feed both sides, oh crap, still awake, have a bit of a cuddle or carry around to keep crying at bay for 10-15 mins, put back on the boob, out like a light. As a stab in the dark, maybe it's a temporary glitch due to the teething? Haven't had the joys of that yet - still got a toothless wonder here. I'm not urging you to keep feeding to sleep by any means, just throwing you some different ideas about it, as I believe that's a particularly difficult issue to address (hence I'm trying to get everything else sorted before I tackle it myself!)

jaggythistle Tue 06-Nov-12 05:52:51

ime starting solids doesn't make a difference, just time as suggested above.

DS1 went through phases of stopping feeding to sleep, but he did go back to it. it's a normal thing for babies to do and doesn't mean they won't ever self settle.

from reading the sleep forum it seems they learn to do it at all different ages, whether you train them or not.

I'm a bit lazy and hate listening to crying so I'm just trying waiting and seeing again. my DS2 is 6 mo and I'm back at work in a week...

DS1 started sleeping a lot better from about 10mo onwards, it goes a bit wrong if they're ill or teething anyway.

i put DS2 down for a nap if he cries when put down to play. he generally has a big feed and falls asleep, but if not i rock/jiggle/shh him and he either falls asleep or feeds a bit more. he has about 3 naps a day, starting at 10am.

i do try to put him in the cot, but if he's not had a sleep due to his big brother waking him I'll leave him to sleep on my knee. if really tired he goes in the sling, saves my arms!

FreelanceMama Tue 06-Nov-12 06:21:01

I'm waiting for a no cry sleep solution where I don't cry! Sympathise with you OP. Crying methods aren't for us, partly because we live in thin walled shared accommodation and I don't think it's fair to our neighbours.

My son is 9.5 months and in September went from waking once between a feed about 11pm and up at 7am, on a good night, i.e. up at 3am, giving me 2 lots of 3+ hours sleep, to bloody awful. E.g. Awake at 5.15am for the day.... Or up at 12.30am and then from 3am, to 5am and then up at 6.30am A perfect storm of: teeth coming through, moving him into his own room, a cold and cough, staying away a few times, and separation anxiety kicking in.

He v rarely sleeps in his cot during the day, really struggles napping anywhere in the afternoon, and like OP, feeding to sleep
Is no longer the magic solution it used to be.

BUT, one of the two 7hrs sleeps we've had i.e. 11.30pm to nearly 7am, was last Wednesday and I have no clue why. This is why I'm crying next day when he's wide awake at 3am - there's no logic to it.

I'm convinced that getting some decent daytime sleep Is going to be the key to a better night's sleep but he will not sleep in the cot and driving/pushing no longer works the way it did.

A tip from a friend is to log your day and night like a fiend and then review for patterns. An effort but something I need to do again. E.g. we learnt that when we take him swimming he always gets a good afternoon nap. So we go twice a week.

Our HV recommended getting daytime sleep cracked first before trying to tackle night sleep and to feed him just before I go to sleep.

FreelanceMama Tue 06-Nov-12 08:37:13

Just had a "sleep conference" with my partner as reading and responding to this thread has helped me think things through.

One problem for us is that at 9.5 months, he's still not crawling so is mentally tired but not physically tired.

New approach for this week then is:
knacker baby out with physical activity before winding down for morning and afternoon naps; if we have to take him swimming every day, so be it!

At the moment he is going mental in the front room batting about an inflatable beach ball. I reckon we could put him in the travel cot with that and he'd be happy to flail around and wear himself out for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime I'm letting myself off the hook of anything non-important i.e. not promising to go to things or do things that depend on getting half decent sleep the night before.

Good luck everyone.

PS: how DO people working in nurseries get babies to go to sleep during the day?

Voodoo. Sedative drugs pumped through the central heating system. If he hadn't been asleep when I went to pick him up yesterday I would never have believed them. Apparently his earlier nap that day (cue me picking myself up off the floor) had occurred when he 'fell asleep' in a bouncer watching the other children playing. I have never known him to 'fall' asleep. Pushed, bribed, coerced and blackmailed, yes. 'Fallen' naturally, no, unless preceded by uncontrollable screaming. I did confirm this fact a few times with them and, yes, they were talking about my son.

Seriously, I think they quite happily find other methods when it is patently obvious the preferred method is not available. This is why I'm not wholly averse to sleep training - I'm not convinced that babies over a certain age give up after entering into a state of hopelessness. I think there's an element of working out that preferred method has been withdrawn. They're cleverer than we give them credit for. (Please, please no one start a crazy debate on that. It's purely my own opinion, and it helps me to do what I need to do to remain sane. Thanks in advance for being nice.)

Freelance, that sounds horrible.

You're obviously a much better person than me. Our neighbours routinely wake us all up coming home from a club at 2 or 4 am. Their kitchen is next to our bedroom and obviously party central. Many is the night i have laid their listening to their music and thinking 'hah, just you wait until sleep training.....'

On the nursery front i am at a loss. However my aunt has raised 4 kids and 9 grandkids as well as 25 years as a childminder. She hadn't met a baby she couldn't soothe until she met mine. After an hour of hysterics my poor aunt had to call me back. She was a broken woman, just sat their saying in a scared voice, 'is she always like that?'

Since then i have felt much more confident in my parenting!

Anyway DD has added an extra feed at night, which is why i am wondering if she really needs it. But you're right Elphaba, i tried to settle her without food and she kept falling asleep on me and then screaming when i tried to get her in her cot so it was hunger. But she didn't feed to sleep...

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