We met Andrea Grace - here is the aftermath

(162 Posts)
lucidlady Mon 27-Aug-12 15:34:39

I've posted several times about my 10 month old DD's appalling night time sleep habits. She woke up roughly every 90 minutes during the night and the only way I could get her back to sleep would be to feed her. She also used to end up in our bed every night as well, and I would then be wide awake from about 3am onwards. I'm back at work FT and the sleep deprivation has been absolute murder.

In desperation, I have read just about every sleep book there is on the market. Controlled crying is not an approach that I am comfortable with, I just cannot stand leaving DD to cry hysterically. It makes my boobs ache and my heart weep. Yes I am a wimp.

Andrea Grace is one of the only books I've read that doesn't immediately promote controlled crying as the only solution. I also read the No Cry Sleep Solution but I have the attention span of a sleep deprived gnat, and I couldn't seem to figure out what I actually had to do. After one particularly awful night where DD screamed from 1am - 5am I announced to DH that I was going to go and see Andrea Grace.

She asks you to keep a sleep diary and send this to her before the appointment. I have been tracking DD's sleep since she was days old so I was able to send her way too much sleep data. DD and I went to see her last week, and in a nutshell, this is what she told us to do:

1. Re-affirm the bedtime routine.
2. Cut the nighttime breastfeeds.
3. Do not take DD out of her cot into our bed.

All sounds great doesn't it? I was more interested in HOW exactly she thought I would achieve this. She said that I should push the bedtime routine back - I was giving the bath far too early. Also, I was to stop DD falling asleep on the boob. Andrea suggested waking her up to read her a story if this happened - the same story needs to be read every night. And then once DD has had her milk and her story, put the light out, say sleepy time (or similar) and pop her in the cot. Once this happens, I am to sit near DD, cuddling and stroking while she is in the cot is allowed but I cannot take her out of the cot again unless she is sick etc. If she wakes in the night, I am to cuddle or stroke her but not lift her out.

Night 1: DD took an hour to settle down to sleep at 8pm. Woke 45 mins later, just needed a quick pat and went back over. Woke again at 1.30am, took an hour to settle back to sleep then slept til 6.40am.

Night 2: Took 22 mins to settle down at 8pm, slept til 2.30am. 20 mins to go to sleep then slept til 3.38am. More or less awake and screaming until 5.09am then slept until woken up at 8.35am.

Night 3 (also known as the worst night of my life): Took an hour to settle from 7.45pm. Woke up at 10.10pm, back over at 10.25 and slept til 2.05am. Absolute hysterics. Back down at 3.10 then awake every hour from 4am onwards for up to 15 mins.

Night 4: An hour to settle from 8pm. Slept until 2am. Back over at 2.07am and then slept until 6.45am...

No doubt I have now jinxed everything but I am feeling much more positive today. I'll update again in a few days.

kleeen Mon 27-Aug-12 17:10:33

wow. thank you for posting this. I am going to be in your EXACT position with our 10mo DS, as I go back to work next week. We previously were somewhat successful at cutting down the nighttime feeds (which required some crying) but we just moved internationally, and LO has been clingy and fussy due to do much upheaval...I admittedly have been feeding on demand all night long lately, just to give him some comfort and stability. However, it has led to 8-10 very quick feeds throughout the night! This definitely can't sustain!

Please keep posting your progress, no matter how positive or negative it is. I think having a realistic expectation for getting DS off the boob and into his cot will be so so helpful! Good luck to you and keep up the good work. I think we all reach the limit at different times, and need to decide the best path for our own families. I will be closely following yours!

babyrose Mon 27-Aug-12 19:18:00

My lo is now 2.3 years and we cut out the night feeds at 9 months. We started off by offering watered down milk every few nights then in the end offered water. He didnt like it but once u set ure mind on doing just keep settling her she will get the msg.


lucidlady Mon 27-Aug-12 19:25:20

Well it's just taken her 36 minutes of throwing herself around the cot but she's fast asleep yay! We've gone cold turkey on the night feeds, she hasn't had one since last Thursday and seems to be coping ok. She has a massive feed when she wakes up in the morning - I've been told I'm not allowed to feed her unless I am waking her up for the day, so I've got to open the curtains and say good morning! Then she can have some milk. Otherwise I'm giving her the impression that she's still allowed night feeds. It seems a bit of a faff but touch wood it's working. Andrea is lovely too - I have my first follow up call to discuss progress tomorrow.

TheCrackFox Mon 27-Aug-12 19:30:57

Well done. My DS1 thought sleep was for wimps - he nearly broke me. Fingers crossed you have an even better night tonight.

bigkidsdidit Mon 27-Aug-12 19:34:05

I went to Andrea too when DS was 6mo and I was collapsing win tiredness. Sknce we finished our moth with her DS has slept through EVERY NIGHT shock he is now 19mo

Just do what she says and it'll all be great smile

Lagartijadoesthecrazyshake Mon 27-Aug-12 19:41:39

I did something very similar when DD was 9 mo. She had slept through 8 til 8 about 3 times before that so I knew she could go through the night without a bf and it had got to the poinnt where, instead of putting her to sleep, feeding just seemed to wake her up.
So, I put her in the cot and patted her bum while going "shhhh". She cried and screamed and tried to stand up but i perservered as i figured it wasn't the same as CIO if I was right there shhing and patting her. After 20 mins she went to sleep and slept all night! I gradually reduced the patting, to just sitting and then ultimately just putting her in and leaving and she'd not cry or sort of moan for a minute or two.

DuggiWontSleep Tue 28-Aug-12 13:48:44

How was last night?! x

lucidlady Tue 28-Aug-12 16:50:02

duggiwontsleep last night was a bit of a palaver. She went down early, at 715 after 36 mins. Slept until 2335 and then woke up. She wasn't upset, just wanted to chat and play. Took 15 mins to fall asleep and then woke up at 0035 and 0135. 10 mins to go back to sleep each time, again she was just looking for a chat so I studiously MNetted in the darkness! DH then had to wake her up at 7am.

Spoke to Andrea who said we are making good progress, and I now need to get DD used to me not being in the room when she falls asleep. She'll only sleep through once she can truly self settle without me being there. So tonight, I need to start wandering out of the room for a few seconds. This is going to be interesting as DD currently cries if I go out of her line of vision confused.

Thanks everyone for the support - finding this really hard but goodness it is starting to pay dividends already!!

lucidlady Wed 29-Aug-12 06:09:29

I picked DD up from the childminder yesterday and was told she'd had only one nap of 90 minutes, which always means we have an awful night ahead due to overtiredness. She ended up going to sleep at 1915 and slept....until 6am!!! Can't believe it. I did wake up a couple of times thinking, I hope she's ok but as we have an Angelcare monitor I managed to stop myself from rushing in to prod her awake smile

Here's hoping it's not a one-off!! I feel AMAZING today - 8 hours of sleep, total bliss!

JellyMould Wed 29-Aug-12 06:14:47

Fabulous! Congratulations!

TheHeirOfSlytherin Wed 29-Aug-12 06:45:47

Well done, i hope all goes well for you. Ds didn't sleep longer than 2 hours at a time until he was 9 months old so I feel your pain.

Word of warning: pick a book you really like.

I wish I'd thought of that before making "Goodnight Moon" ds's bedtime book. <twitches at the thought of the horrid great green room, with a telephone and open lit fireplace. Who seriously has those things in a toddler's bedroom?>

bigkidsdidit Wed 29-Aug-12 06:48:05


DuggiWontSleep Wed 29-Aug-12 08:21:35

Fantastic news!

monkeyblonde Wed 29-Aug-12 08:44:30

Hi lucidlady I have been reading your post avidly.

Interested to know from your first post- you mention that you were doing bath time too early. What time was this?

As with most of the people on here, you could be telling our story too!

DuggiWontSleep Wed 29-Aug-12 09:30:09

Hi Lucidlady - would you be able to provide more details re. the plan that Andrea agreed with you? Im keen to try this too but really dont know where to start. Am trying to night wean at present.

Bet you feel like a completely new woman this morning ! x

kleeen Wed 29-Aug-12 09:41:55

What wonderful news! I hope it continues! I downloaded Andreas book, and after having a chat with DH, we have decided to try this starting tonight! He has a hard time listening to DS cry, but then again, he wasn't
the one who fed him back to sleep 9 times last night!!!

I am going back to work next week sometime, so I would love to make some progress by then. I know it will be rough going in the beginning, as DS is very stubborn (like his parents!)

Thanks again for sharing, and please continue to update!

kleeen Wed 29-Aug-12 09:46:35

Lucidlady- how was it when you left the room? Did it make much of a difference in the crying? Did you stay away a full 5 minutes?

bigkidsdidit Wed 29-Aug-12 10:47:28

When I did Andrea's plan I never left DS crying but pottered round the room putting washing away etc, eventually sitting on the floor MNing. When he was fine wih that I just popped him down, kissed goodnight and left. He never cried really as we had built up to it slowly with the shushing etc.

lucidlady Wed 29-Aug-12 13:13:38

Hi everyone

Yes I feel great - I can't remember the last time I had some proper stretches of unbroken sleep. It really is a form of torture...

TheHeir I picked "Is it bedtime Wibbly Pig". It is still a bit of a novelty as I bought it after seeing Andrea - a new book for our new routine! Having said that I am already feeling mildly irritated by this stupid pig that won't go to bed...

Monkeyblonde DD used to get tired around 3 hours after waking from her last nap, so I used to try to get dinner bath and bed done within those 3 hours. So, say she woke up at 4 - well I'd have her in the bath by 6, aiming for a 7pm bedtime. Even when it was obvious that she was staying awake for longer, I kept on doing bath at 6pm because my friend who was following "Shewhoshallnotbenamed" did it, and told me it definitely worked. Andrea put me right on that - this is why the sleep diary is important. You'll probably find that there is a pattern to the time your LO falls asleep. In my case it was usually 8pm, so Andrea said put her in the bath 45 mins before bed, so that you then have 20 - 30 mins to get dressed in PJs, have milk and then the story.

Duggi the plan is very simple and is basically what it says above. The rules are:
1) get a consistent bath & bed routine - bath followed by milk, but don't let DD fall asleep on boob. The story is to make sure she is awake when she goes in the cot - it needs to be the same book every night so that it becomes a bedtime signal.
2) Once she's in the cot - that is IT. You must not lift her out, even if she is absolutely hysterical. She's not crying because she's in pain, she's crying because she's tired and the usual way of going to sleep (ie boob) is not available.
3) You can cuddle and stroke her as much as you like, just don't lift her out Stay beside her until she falls asleep.
4) repeat for nightwakings. Do not lift her out of the cot at any time
5) NO MORE MILK at night. Even if she scratches at your boobs for it (which DD did!! She'd reach through the bars and grab my top to pull me over!)

It took about 4 days for the penny to drop that there was no more milk at night - I give her water if she is thirsty and she takes that quite happily now. I think you have to be absolutely 100% determined you're going to see it through - if you crack, all you've done is teach the baby that if they scream long enough, milk will always follow. The first few nights are the absolute worst. Andrea's book is a really good starting point and she also does Skype consultations for anyone who can't make it to her offices - more info here: http://www.andreagrace.co.uk/index.html

Kleeen I wandered out of the room literally for seconds. The 5 min thing is for controlled crying, which I didn't want to do as I cannot bear to leave DD upset. So Andrea told me to walk out to put the light on in the hall, close another door etc but always walk back in within seconds. You build to longer periods out of the room over the course of the week. I mainly do what bigkids did, potter around and MN while she settles herself down. GOOD LUCK for tonight! Remember - stay strong. Your LO will try every trick in the book to get you to cave in - mine did! smile

kleeen Wed 29-Aug-12 13:54:44

Thanks. Did you notice a difference in LO the next day? Was she clingy? Fussy? or generally the same as always?

DuggiWontSleep Wed 29-Aug-12 14:08:05

Thank you sooooo much for this post Lucid - am determined to get tough and see it through!

lucidlady Wed 29-Aug-12 17:19:10

kleeen she was her usual smiley self the next day - because I stayed with her, I don't think she felt abandoned.

lucidlady Wed 29-Aug-12 17:19:44

Good luck duggi! Let us know how it goes

icravecheese Wed 29-Aug-12 18:53:01

Am reading this with interest - DD3 is 10.5months and a terrible sleeper - every2 hours, only the boob will get her back off.

Our 2nd child was also pretty awful at sleeping & we have the benefit of our HV being a sleep specialist too, and she came out with DD2 to tell us how to sleep train her - seems her methods are totally identical to Andrea Grace and your post has reminded me how we did the above (i.e. not getting DD out of cot, only patting / stroking through bars etc).

Nothing particularly helpful to add to the post, other than thanks for posting - it has now motivated me to get going on the sleep training with DD3, I can't take the sleepness nights anymore, after 3 children in quick succession I don't think i've had a decent nights sleep in over 5 yrs...arghhh!!

Good luck to everyone going through sleep training - I seem to recall night 3 is the worst (well it was with DD2) as they try one last attempt at thwarting your efforts, but stick with it and it should work (unless you have a REALLY stubborn little person!!)

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