Tell me I'm doing the right thing. DH not speaking to me.(125 Posts)
I'm sleep training our 7 month old. I was always against the idea until recently. He eats plenty during the day, he doesn't need feeding.
This is the fifth night. It's gone like this:
First night: awful.
Second night: better
Third night: good
Fourth night: perfect
Fifth night: awful (so far)
DH says he doesn't understand why I don't just pick him up. We have discussed this before starting and he was totally supportive but now we're in it he's finding it hard. So am I. It is hard, I get it. But after an hour of crying the baby has finally gone to sleep, I've asked if DH is ok. He says yes. I say I know it's hard, but I'm not having a one or two or three year old who won't sleep in his cot because he's been taught he doesn't have to. He says fine. I ask if he's in a mood, he says no. He clearly is.
It IS the right thing to do, isn't it? DH says I might aswell leave the room and abandon him if I'm not going to pick him up. I'm still comforting him though, I hand hold, re-dummy, tuck in and stroke. I just don't talk, feed or cuddle.
Has anyone done the same? I'd love to hear tales of success please. Reassure me that I'm not an evil bitch. At this stage we all need a decent night's sleep, the baby included. I'm doing no-one any favours by letting it continue. (Hear the desperation as I try to convince myself?)
Thank you, as always.
I never get this both mine still defiantly need a night feed at this age. And really think about it do you actually go 12 hours without a drink I never do. So why do we expect small babies to.
Some will naturally sleep through at this age but I think it's very wrong to force it. Understandable if you want to limit feeds, both mine only needed one or two feeds over night at this age. So having a later night feed may work.
But I can understand your husband distress as I could never leave mine like that. Night time parenting is part and parcel of parenting I'm afraid why is being comforted in the night any less of a need then food?
Also their brains can't work out cause and effect until around 18 months so she's too young to try and manipulate you. she is coming up to prime seperation anxiety age and typical sleep regression around 8-9 months.
So anything you do now may not last long. Really at this age they still don't know they are a separate person from you. Your projecting adult thinking onto a baby who's brain doesn't yet think like that and won't for many years.
You are not being a bitch and you are not heartless.
You do however make the mistake of thinking your baby is manipulating you, which makes you feel more comfortable sleep training. Be honest with yourself, ans you won't feel quite so uncomfortable about doing it. The example you give of him looking at your dh and laughing when you take him and that you believe this to be a sign that he is starting to be aware of how he can influence your behaviour. No, no, and no!!! He is a baby. A proper bona fide baby. He is simply delighted to be in your arms and sharing his delight. Not being smug to your dh FGS!
I also slept train my two, and they sleep beautifully. At 7 months though, I was happy to feed once in the night. It's a long time to go without food. And I think it is is odd to read in to the fact that he had the odd night without feeding and you have interpreted that to mean he definitely doesn't need it.
I did sleep training with both mine at the same age, took about a week and it was hard for everyone but I worked and it was a necessity for me as I was the one doing the night waking a and I just couldn't function!
Both times though it meant they were then getting 12 hours sleep at night and they were much happier in the day time
Your ds having gone through the night before doesn't necessarily mean he can now. Their needs vary as they grow.
I second the poster who wondered if you had considered co-sleeping, and the poster who thinks your ds is too young. I also think a parenting philosophy of 'follow through no matter what' is not always the most appropriate route.
You asked in your OP if you were doing the right thing. I get that your second post clarified that this was effectively a rhetorical question. But I'd still like to offer an alternative view. And I do know about the exhaustion - mine were each feeding several times a night well into their second year.
I feel for you, but I think 7 months is too young -for some babies -to expect them to go through the night. Both of mine needed a night feed at that stage. Your baby is too young to understand why they're being left to cry.
I think your sanity is very important for DS as well as you and sleep training (of whatever kind you feel comfortable with) in these circumstances is reasonable. But I would also say that you should tackle the bit about how only you can settle DS - actually I think if it was me at 7 months I would work on this and get him used to your DH doing it so that you can genuinely share the nights. DS is (still) a bad sleeper at 15 months and we have had only limited success with various attempts to improve it - it just seems to be his 'weak link' and the way that he expresses any stress or anxiety, so while the various techniques do work as soon as he is slightly unwell or anxious or there's been any other disruption, it all falls apart. Personally I could brace myself for "hard-core" sleep training (cry it out or whatever) once if I was desperate but I know that I could not do it repeatedly.
But we have divided the night "duties" completely equally from very early on. So although we are both chronically tired we are not totally desperate and also - very important I think - I don't feel resentful of DH which I absolutely would if it was always me who had to get up.
Lots of people will say to co-sleep, and we have done this a bit, but I don't think it's the best solution for anyone - personally we both found that we didn't sleep well with him there and also that psychologically/emotionally we both need some time apart from him and also time/space to be a couple at night.
Our DS definitely did still need a night-time bottle at this age - he didn't drop it until about 10 months I think - but he has always been a very hungry baby. We dropped it in stages though - reduced the milk gradually, 10ml or so at a time, then replaced it with water, then had a stage when if he woke we went to him and soothed him but didn't offer anything.
To be honest, I think if you went away for a few days for a break - which it sounds like you need - and left DH holding the fort you'd probably come back to discover that he was happy to do whatever you think best.
I'm training my 6 month old not to feed at night (after seeing a paed on Monday who confirmed physiologically she didn't need to feed at night)
How on earth does anyone confirm that when a 6 month old can't talk...and how does she know that perhaps it's not food, but comfort or love that the 6 month old needs.
It saddens me that in the Uk we don't set mothers to be up with the expectation that you WILL lose sleep for up to 2 years with a baby. Because 'gasp' they are individuals, and none of them have read the manual about what they are supposed to do.
If sleep training is your thing then do it, I understand the absolute desperation of sleep depravation and if you can't cope with it then you should find a way through sleep training or whichever method you as the parent decide...you have to function during the day, I get that. But let's not pretend that a 6 months old doesn't need a feed or reassurance in the night.
Sorry that should say "best solution for everyone" - I'm sure co-sleeping is by far the best solution for loads of people, just not for us most of the time.
"I cannot continue waking between 5 and 10 times in the night, every night."
Be clear that this is why you are sleep training. Not sleep training now will not result in a 1 or 2 or 3 year old who wakes during the night -this is a line sometimes sold by sleep training books but it just isn't true. However, it doesn't sound as though you are doing hardline sleep training more just communicating that now is the time to stay in bed.
Not being able to function during the day is a real problem. If your husband is distressed by sleep training he needs to help with the night waking, help with the sleep training or shut up.
On the other hand, while a baby waking 10 times a night is not manageable for long, a baby waking once a night for a feed at this age is very normal - maybe carry on doing what you are doing, but allow a feed? (My impression would be that a baby isn't waking for food if he/she has been fed but continues to wake up hourly anyway, not because they have once or twice not needed food).
Also, have you spoken to the GP or health visitor? I do remember that our HV said not to sleep train in a strict way before a year. I'm sure they all have different views on this though. DH is French and in France they all seem to do it practically from birth - there's MUCH less breastfeeding over there though too which is probably a factor.
Actually that's a really good point from merrymouse - there's a huge difference between one or two wakes - especially if you share the load with a partner - and five or ten. It was the five-to-ten zone that made us absolutely desperate too. Maybe focus in the first instance of getting down to just one feed? I think one really difficult thing about all this is that I definitely felt that when we were most stressed and exhausted that in itself stressed DS who was worried in his baby way about the tension and that made him more wakeful because he wanted reassurance. Bit of a vicious circle!
Another one here who sleep trained dd2 at 8mths. We had ended up co-sleeping but it meant SH ended up on the sofa at nights and was just getting silly.
I followed Super Nannys controlled crying syst (2,4,8,16,32 mins one) and it was hellish the first night, much better the next couple of nights and damn near perfect from then on. Dd2 is now 20mtha and sleeps like a dream.
We didn't do that with dd1 and although she sleeps through we still stay with her until she falls asleep and she's 4.4yo. At 20mths bedtime would take forever. It's like night an day comparing the two.
God luck but I think your doing the right thing. And your DH will too when he reaps the benefits of a baby sleeping through.
I posted as sleep training doesn't seem to be working, and your baby is very clearly telling you he needs you at night.
My 11 month old cosleeps with me. Until I go to bed she wakes up once an hour or so. Once I'm in bed she sleeps through, with perhaps one dream feed. I get a good night sleep. If she were in a cot on her own i expect she'd be waking all night and I'd be tearing my hair out!
You did ask if you were doing the right thing and I am genuinely trying to help.
I wouldn't pay too much attention to the HV on this, pers They give advice based on their opinion, not medical advice, when it cones to stuff like this. They're also not
Stick with it.
With mine I sat in the darkened room and just said quietly "shh - it's bed time, go to sleep" every time they moved or made a noise. I didn't pick up or touch at all. Over a week or two it went from over an hour to just a few minutes, with me gradually moving further away, until I was just outside the door.
It was as boring as hell and very tedious for me for that couple of weeks - but it did work and in hindsight I think for us it was the best approach.
I'll join the "bitch" club with you.
10 times a night is a lot. No one can carry on like that. Sleep is important and co sleeping was never an option for me.
It worked within 2/3 days for me with both dds.
Oops hit post too soon. The last para should say ...
I wouldn't pay too much attention to the HV on this, personally. They give advice based on their opinion, not medical advice, when it cones to stuff like this. They're also not allowed to recommend cosleeping as they go be studies which show cosleeping to be less safe than sleeping in a cot. However the studies they based their advice on include all sorts of unsafe practices line sharing sofas and sleeping with the baby while drunk. But many mothers find cosleeping (perhaps with a three sided cot) to be the thing that gets everyone some precious sleep.
It may not work for your baby, they are all different. But from an outside point of view, it seems your baby is telling you he needs you at night. Honestly, what you do now will have little bearing on what happens when he's 3, he's too young to learn that kind of stuff now.
What matters is you and him getting some sleep. If you DH can't do night wakings, can he do the morning so you can get a lie in? (whether you do sleep training or not)
Just to be clear, I'm suggesting cosleeping nay be a solution, it is for me with a baby who otherwise wakes every hour, asking for me. If i didn't cosleep i'd be desperately tired, she would be up all night.
Might it be worth a try?
Ok. I'm on my phone so I can't mention individual posters, sorry.
I know he's not hungry for these reasons:
Before training I would put him to the breast every hour or two, he never fed. He'd suckle for a few seconds and fall back to sleep. I however am awake then for the next hour or more. I'll just drift off and he'd be awake again.
He eats plenty during he day, solid food, breast feeds and water.
It's not his hunger cry. For example last night I started talking to DH when I was on the verge of giving up and because he heard our voices he immediately stopped crying and listened quite happily. If he was hungry he wouldn't be distracted that easily from it.
Also yes, I did reduce to one feed, but he was still waking.
So my trouble is, why is he waking? Because he wants comfort. But the more I comfort him, the more frequently he wakes. Last night was hell but he was actually only awake twice, as opposed to 5-10 times, more sometimes.
I do know that as a parent I should expect sleepless nights. I know that. I didn't have him in order for my life to carry on as usual. But it's got to the point where I can't function. I need to be a good parent to him. I AM a good parent. He gets all the love, comfort and attention he wants from me all day long. I cook all his food, I keep his play area clean, I take him to fun places. I talk to him all day long. I love him desperately. But the lack of sleep is killing me. I just want him to know that I am here, if he's genuinely in pain or discomfort I will do everything I can do to stop it, but otherwise he needs to sleep in his cot.
And yes I have seen a HV, and a doctor, and my mum is a childcare proffessional. If I really am doing the wrong thing then of course I will stop, but how am I supposed to know when everyone in RL has told me it's the right thing?
Thank you to everyone who has given kind words and advice. Sorry this is so long and emotional.
OP you did post asking if you were doing the right thing, then when people say no you are getting defensive.
Babies can sleep through the night occasionally for all sorts of reasons. It certainly doesn't mean they don't need fed anymore! At 7 months, there is no way manipulation/understanding behaviour can be influenced is happening.
My son used to wake a lot to feed and that's why we co-sleep. There IS other options apart from sleep training. I know millions of people do sleep training and are confident in their decision which is their choice. If you read further into a 7 months old development I think you will see that at that age they still very much need comfort and reassurance. It's still very young.
We did this and it worked. If sleeps from 7 to 7 every night except when ill or teething. We started the sleep training when he was 7 months old.
It doesn't work for everyone but please don't think you are doing the wrong thing. Baby is not going to be harmed or have any psychological problems because of this. Baby knows you're there.
Must be awful to not have the support of your husband, when it's such a hard thing to do anyway. But you are doing it for the greater good.
Good luck with it. Hope it works out. X
I didn't know this was called sleep training, I just did it with my 2 because it sermed to make sense for them and me for them to learn to sleep through/self settle.
Mine were both just under 5 months when I did it.t took about a fortnight which was really tiring and completely took over, but it was so worth it.
I also worked hard on the daytime sleeping routine to help the night time sleeping before I tackled the nights.
If your dh doesn't like it, fine -but tell him he can deal with all the night waking.
My rule was babies never come out of the cot unless ill, and never downstairs unless it's an emergency.....
BUT if they cried in the night I always went to them, so there was no lack of security.I slept on the floor if need be.
I'm not getting defensive, I'm trying to explain where my difficulty lies - in that it's only here on MN that people have said it might not be the right thing. I'm not going to change my entire thought process immediately based on the opinions of (sorry if this sounds harsh) strangers. What I am going to do, is thank you for all the links and google suggestions and read through them all when I get chance. I might, based on that, change my mind.
Btw DH is back on side and doesn't want to stop.
7 months? No way could I have let mine cry at that young age. I may think you're an evil bitch, but at the end of the day, it's your baby and you have to bring it up the way you think best.
I preferred cosleeping and getting some extra cuddles in to any form of sleep training, and I really needed sleep as I was back at work full time (out of house 6.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.) when DD was 13 weeks.
Sleep training might, or might not work. Having said that, there is a reason that we are programmed, as parents, to respond to our baby's cry.
I did sleep training with my DS at a similar age and it was a revelation. It took a few days and then he was sleeping through 7-7 with a dream feed at 10. He had been waking every 45-60 mins - not because he was hungry but because he would come out of a sleep cycle and not know how to get back to sleep without some form of rocking or feeding and it would take up to 45 mins to get him back to sleep. It has made a world of difference to me and to him both at night and for naptimes. Anyone (DH, granny) can put him to bed now anywhere (our house, friends houses). I personally believe it is better to do a short stint of sleep training if you are in this situation because babies need solid sleep to developmentally process everything they are learning every day - and you need sleep to function properly. It may not be for everyone but it worked for us. I'd also agree with posters who said staying in the room might not be helping, though you've done well with it so far so stick with it if you prefer that. Good luck!
Although I don't totally agree with sleep training CIO or CC my dd is 6 months and dropped her night feed a couple of months ago. some babies are hungry some aren't.
she has tracked her weight beautifully and the HV always comment how well she is growing at weigh in.
OP will know her babies hunger cry. I can tell all my babies different cries.
OP : have you tried keeping the temp up in the room. DD would go down lovely but wake several times once we were in bed. we started leaving the heating on low and she started to go longer without waking. We have had 2 nights of 8-7. I'm not holding out for it again tonight though.
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