Please help me with co-sleeping, sling-dependent, cot/pram/car-refusin
g 5 month old
Am tired (what else?!) and weepy after another night of constant bf-ing and yet another failed attempt at getting dd to have a morning nap in cot. Could waffle on for hours, but basically I want to know: am I the only person too feeble to manage any kind of sleep training?? I have only tried shush-pat type things a couple of times, and cave in after about 90 seconds. Dd gets totally hysterical, so do I, and as usual she is now having a lovely nap in sling. Does this matter? Should I just find a bit more backbone? Feel like friends/family think I'm just a bit of a silly hippy.
She won't go in car seat without total meltdown, or pram, so it's sling for naps pretty much all day, every day. Bedtime routine is all nice, but then... sling until 10pm, then co-sleeping, which used to work but is increasingly fraught as she wakes up when I feed her, rather than nods off. Ideally she would like to be in the sling all night too, I think! I usually end up propped up in bed with her sprawled across me.
Have two other dcs, and some days I can manage it all (and just go with the flow, and ignore feeling that I should have sorted this sleeping thing out by now), but today apparently all I can do is sniffle into my coffee. I should add that she is heavenly sunny girl when awake...
Anyone?! Having another battle over afternoon nap, and beginning to lose the plot...
No you're not alone. DS (now 2) was exactly like this, DD (4 months) is the same except for now she will feed to sleep in the evenings where he used to scream for hours.
DD takes every nap in the sling or now the pushchair occasionally but is as big a nap fighter as her brother. All naps bar one today have been 20-25 minutes long.. I'm hoping she'll get better as she gets older as for the first 2.5 months she'd happily sleep all day.
I'm happy to have her nap in the sling for now - I say I don't give a stuff what anyone else thinks but wish they'd just accept this is fine for us, but also my back and shoulders aren't thanking me and I am suffering awful mummy guilt that my answer to DS's requests to play is so often answered with "in a minute, im just getting DD to sleep"
This phase won't last forever and as much as I'm wishing DD would just 'fall' asleep and not always have to be bounced I think it's kind of wonderful that our babies rely on us so much and we are able to help them see sleep as a secure and relaxed state to be in instead of being trained to fit our unrealistic expectations. They'll be grown before we know it and having gone with DS's needs and seeing how quickly and easily he can fall asleep now I know DC2 will most likely follow suit.. Eventually!
I would try and get her used to cot/ pram/ car seat / bounces chair for short bursts when she is awake so she associates them as a nice place to be.
So once she is fed/ not tired/ clean maybe pop her in cot with mobile/ toy and you just potter around tidying room/ talking to her for a few mins. Then take her out, gradually increase the time. Same with other things. So maybe pop in car seat whilst you get dressed and talk to her etc.
Then once those places arent so scarey you can try for sleep.
You poor thing, sounds like you are having a time of it, and must be knackered with 3 to look after! I have a 5 month old as well (and a 2.5 year old who has never slept) and the 5 month old is a bit like yours, has never really slept in her cot for more than a couple of hours, ever.
Firstly, have you eliminated any health issues like silent reflux? My first was really pukey and was only ever happy propped up a bit, never liked being flat. You don't mention what side of 5 months she is, but if she is closer to 6 months is sitting unaided and not gagging food out when you give it to her, you could try some solids which might help. I personally found with my first that weaning didn't help with sleeping at all (milk has loads more calories than a bowl of peas of course) but it may help some babies.
It is also an age when some begin to teethe, so the waking up and getting fraught in the middle of the night while feeding might be a symptom of that?
If you just do a "hippy" and let her sleep when she wants to (rather than try and get her to have morning naps or afternoon naps at specific times), what happens? Just wondering if you could do a little log book of what she is doing for a week, when left to her own devices, to see if there is a pattern to her sleep and then think about where you want her to be in a month, see if you could tweak her sleep patterns that way? For example, if you do a school/nursery run will she fall asleep on the way there?
I'm afraid I am probably not best positioned to give any advice as my older one doesn't sleep terribly well still but I have managed to relax about things a bit more and not get too worried about what others think!
So often we are concerned about what we "should" be doing, before I had my 2 I would have thought with such a little baby it would be easy to dictate how things were going to work - how wrong i was! Just to let you know, I feel your pain. Don't worry too much about what others think, do what you need to do to keep you and your family's sanity and remember things can change so quickly at this age, you might find they sleep through soon!
If she is happy and smiley in the day, you are meeting her needs including her need for sleep, so hold on to that thought! Do you feel ok continuing as you are I.e. Is it other people's views upsetting you, or your tiredness? Guess am just saying don't beat yourself up if it works for you. This book gets mentioned a lot on here, no cry sleep solution but it may help if you want to make gentle changes. Did you experience the same with your older DCs?
Oh thank you all so much for these replies and suggestions, was feeling a bit desperate, not least because one of my older dcs is off school, not very well, and I haven't been able to look after him properly as constantly jiggling dd trying to get her to sleep. So much guilt - even the dog is looking at me mournfully because I haven't been able to walk him!
Dss are 7 and 9, and were both pretty dodgy sleepers too - fairly similar pattern to dd. They got there in their own good time, and this time round I planned on just being all chilled about it, forgetting that sleep deprivation does make you pretty crazed. On good days, I can see dd is gradually getting better (eg. despite only napping in the sling, she is fairly predictable - 3 naps a day, around the same times), but on bad days, like today, I just feel like I've got everything wrong for the THIRD time!
She is only just 5 months, so not ready to wean yet I don't think (she can't sit up - she's so fat from being fed all night she just rolls all over the place ). But I do think she is a bit refluxy - she's a big puker, although it doesn't seem to worry her - so that might be why she hates being flat.
Have to go and cook tea for non-ill ds, but thank you again a million times for taking time to reply, very much appreciated at end of long day. Will come back and reread replies again next time panic descends!
I may have a suggestion for you. My daughter is 7 months, and still takes her naps in a sling, but I was able to guide her gentle to sleep in a cot (mostly) during the night. We pushed the cot right up to the bed and she slept in the bed with me as normal. Then we took the side of the cot down and she slept in the bed as normal with the cot just there again. Then laid her down in the cot and breastfed her to sleep and I stayed in bed next to her with her in the cot so the moment she woke or felt unsettled I was there, she could feel and see me. Then during the night she would be able to roll over into the bed and be with me. Now she is pretty happy to spend the whole night in her cot, but if she ever wants me she can just roll over and I'm there. I basically gave each step a week for her to adjust to it and she did it slowly so there were no tears on her part. I did wait until she was 6 months to start it though!
Hope you can get some sleep soon
SamraLee, that sounds like a lovely, gentle way of moving dd into her cot, thank you. Tears-free seems to be the only way I can manage, or I just give up... Can I ask what your dd sleeps in? Do you put her in a sleeping bag? And does she go to sleep in her cot early evening, or do you keep her with you till you go to bed? Also, if you don't mind me firing so many questions at you, are you happy to keep her in the sling for naps, or do you want to change that at some point? I have dd napping in her sling as I type, and I'm basically fine with it, I just worry how much bigger she's going to get. (And when I have bad days, like yesterday, I feel like I'm the only person doing it, so thank you so much for reassuring me that I'm not, whatever my not-always-very-helpful-family may say!!!).
She does sleep in a sleepsuit and a sleepingbag and sometimes I also put a blanket over her, just a light crocheted one. At first she went to sleep in her cot and I went to sleep with her. then we switched her napping schedule and she went to her cot in the early evening and I would leave her on her own. The first night we did it I was a nervous wreck, checking on her every five minutes. Now, I just check on her every 15 minutes or so. We live in a flat so she is literally 10 or so steps away from us. I honestly love her napping in the sling. I'm sure I will eventually change it, but for right now we both really enjoy it. I know what you mean about family suggestions! I recently visited my parents over the Christmas holiday and my mom didn't stop suggesting I just put her down to sleep in a cot and that someday I would have to do it. You are certainly not the only person who lets their child sleep on them. I'm happy to do whatever makes me and my daughter happy and it seems like you are too. I personally think the best way to raise your child is with lots of love and what is more loving than having a nap on Mummy? Feel free to ask as many questions as you like .
Thank you, you are so right - and your daughter is lucky to have such a lovely chilled mum! I just let my dd snooze on me today while I read a magazine and it felt like I had a break, rather than wrestling with her in the cot and ending up feeling crappy. Much better. Still struggle to get her to sleep in the early evening in her sling, let alone cot, but my dh is home this evening so he is dealing with her while I get to see the other dcs for a change.
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