Is there hope?(9 Posts)
DD now 3 months. I have posted on here before as I am quite anxious about her sleep - lots of crying before sleep especially naps. This has improved with more vigilance over her tired signs but not gone. She still needs a lot of help to get to sleep, either feeding rocking or sling time. My question is this- can I just leave her sleep to get better on its own or do I need to "do something". I am currently co-sleeping some of the time but dont fancy doing this long term as i definitely get less good quality sleep when doing so. Obviously all the sleep gurus say do something or they will never sleep well. What have others experienced? Can I chill out or do I need to make a plan?
Have you read 'the no cry sleep solution'? We started using ideas from it around 3 months. Things have improved for DD - now 6 months.
There is hope! Although I liked a plan as well I read all the main baby/sleep books (NCCS, Ferber, Gina Ford, Baby Whisperer, Wonder Weeks, Dr Green's Baby book and Tizzie Hall) and I took useful things from all of them. Not one had a single approach that I relied on totally, but I picked what worked for us.
DS is not a natural sleeper. He has never in 11 months just 'dozed off'! For the first few months I just did whatever it took to get him and us some sleep. He was a hungry boy as well so fed (ebf) what seemed like constantly, day and night. I always fed to sleep until one day it just stopped working. Just like that. So I had to come up with something else! I tried shushing, PUPD, rocking, patting, EVERYTHING. Until one day, after our bedtime routine I just put him in his cot, awake and left him to go and get a cup of tea and cry on DH! He was asleep in 8 minutes. And cried one heck of a lot less than he had done at bedtime EVER.
A couple of generally useful tips that I've picked up from here and elsewhere:
1) babies like to wake up where they fell asleep or they get confused and disoriented.
2) nighttime in our house is between 6.30pm and 6.30am. Between those times no lights go on, no toys are played with and there is a minimum talking/eye contact etc. make night times really really boring!
3) routine routine routine. Babies like to know what's coming next.
4) try and sort out daytime sleep so that bedtime isn't an overtired nightmare
5) babies often like early bedtimes. For Months DS went to bed at 5.30pm!
Good luck, I can totally relate to the anxiety thing-I have TERRIBLE anxiety. Can you tell by the long list of books I read...!
Yes there is hope, but if you're not going to "do" anything, you need to be prepared to be patient and just guide her into sleeping better - it takes time!
DD is not a great sleeper and I can't bear her to cry. For the first 4 months all of her daytime naps were in the sling and nighttimes were long and not terribly sleep filled, until I discovered cosleeping and then I managed to get much more sleep myself.
At 4 months she turned a corner and started napping in her buggy (this coincided with my changing it from the carrycot to the seat attachment - not sure if this helped or whether she was just a bit older and ready for it). But she'd only sleep when it was moving so all of her daytime naps were with me walking (miles and miles!). If this is the same for you, at least we're heading into Spring Nighttime was still feeding every 2 hours and feeding to sleep, but now in her crib the whole time.
At six months she turned a corner and would stay asleep in the buggy for naps after being rocked to sleep in it. Over the next couple of months she gradually extended her nap times til she was doing about an hour in the morning and 1.5-2 hours in the afternoon. Nighttimes were feeding every 3 hours and feeding to sleep mostly although when first going to bed she would go into her crib awake and be patter or stroked to sleep and if she woke before 3 hours I would try to pat her back to sleep instead of feeding (sometimes worked, sometimes not, and there was quite a bit of crying, but got better as time went on). She went into her own room at 6 months and this didn't change her sleeping instantaneously the way it does for some babies.
At 7.5 months she turned a corner again and started doing longer stretches in between feeds herself. By 8 months I thought if she could do 4 hours between feeds then I'd pat her back to sleep if she woke before this, then 5 hours and so on. She was now being patted back to sleep very easily with virtually no crying.
Now, at 9 months she has 2 reliable long naps in her buggy during the day. She goes to bed at 7, wakes for a feed around 11 or 12 and then sleeps til 7. Sometimes she'll wake around 3 or 4, but settles very quickly with being patted to sleep.
I guess our next corners to be turned are getting rid of that one night feed and getting her to bed at night without semi-comatosing her with the boob first!
I'm also anxious about sleep and her crying (hell, it's hard not to be when you have a poor sleeper!) and the things that have helped me/I've learned are:
- baby sleep will improve with time as they get older and more confident in "letting go". Some people will try to help them improve faster with books and routines and other people will just wait for it to happen. There's no right or wrong to this and different things work for different people, but babies will all get there in the end one way or another. DD's sleep pattern now is pretty similar to what Gina Ford recommends, but I've never done a routine she just fell into it herself. Maybe she'd have done it more quickly with a routine, but that didn't work for me.
- use whatever you need to get them to sleep - ie, slings cosleeping etc, but if you're worried about the "creating a rod for your own back" myth, then try to have a plan for getting them off it. So keep trying with putting them to sleep in the buggy/cot and one day they'll decide to do it.
- if you're not going to do a routine you just need to be patient and happy to wait for things to improve. This also involves telling other people that things are working out just fine when they're horrified your baby's not sleeping through yet.
- some crying before they fall asleep is normal. I coped with it by staying with DD and patting and singing to her til she settled, so I never felt she was crying on her own (no judgement on people that do here, just that I couldn't cope with it)
- getting her into a bedtime routine early helped my sanity enormously. At 9 weeks I started aiming for her going to bed in the evening instead of being up with us. This started with starting the bedtime stuff around 4:30 and her actually being in bed asleep by 9, but gradually these timings shortened - by 6 months bath/bedtime took about 2 hours and now it's about 45 mins or less.
- lots of people said starting solids would help with sleep, but I think it made DD worse for the first month and she was obviously having a few problems with digestion and constipation. Now she's eating well it has made me more confident that I can stretch out her milk feeds more at night.
- babies might regress a bit with sleep for various reasons. Don't lose heart!
Sorry that turned into a bit of an essay, but what you said sounded quite like me so I thought I'd share! Not saying I'm an expert or anything and we're still someway off that elusive sleeping through the night, but I do think she'll get there in the end!
Definitely hope! Our dd sounds similar to yours. We started doing a mix of things from the no cry sleep solution at 16 weeks. Mainly pick up put down. We also introduced "le pause" from French Children Don't Throw Food, so when she woke up in the middle of the night, instead of immediately leaping out of bed to feed her, we gave her a couple of mins to see if she could self settle and she was sleeping through by the end of the week.
My advice is not to do anything until you feel you have to, because it all takes commitment and its hard, we were really desperate... We have no regrets though! She sleeps through every night, she naps ok... Not brilliantly... But we've never had to use cc or cio. Good luck xxx
Blushing mare - a fantastic response - honest, realistic and positive. A truly helpful response - well done!
Glad you thought so gentleman, thanks!
Thank you so much for the responses, blushingmare and teacher123 in particular thank you for the lovely long posts and so nice to hear I am not the only one getting a bit anxious about all this! I have NCSS but when I initially read it found it difficult to work out how it would work given that she cries regardless! I think there may not be a no cry solution for us but would aim for a not sobbing with tears solution?!? We are currently experiencing a combination of growth spurt/recent imms/current cold and therefore have been waking hourly every night for last 5 so need to hear there is hope! Thanks all xx
Some great advice on here. I'm not the OPbut thanks to everyone who replied. I'm finding it helpful.
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