Why can I not feed DD to sleep?

(60 Posts)
stopprocrastinating Sun 25-Aug-13 22:29:10

Please remind me why we’re controlled crying?

DD falls asleep on the boob, very easily, and is then transferred from our bed to her cot. Due to impending move to nursery, DH is insisting that we do crying it out controlled crying. I don’t like it and neither does DD.

When we have mastered DD self-soothing. We’ve just done third night in row, of controlled crying, do I need to then start putting her down awake, every night? If we revert to falling asleep on the boob, will all the crying it out have been in vain. She’s six and a half months old. For the last few nights, I've moved her just as she's coming to end of feed, and before she's fallen asleep.

DH has two sisters, and they both did controlled crying for their children, and he’s been listening to their advice on getting children to sleep. DD is still waking every two to three hours, and whilst I cope, DH hates it.

I've agreed to move her to nursery, at seven months, and consider giving her just water at night, at eight months (as per his sisters advice). DH is worried, that if we don't act now, we could have a poor sleeper for years to come. I'm much more laid back.

Is he right? Try to convince me that he is correct. I've compromised, and I don't like it.

hettienne Sun 25-Aug-13 22:33:37

6 months seems a bit young for controlled crying!

If you want to stop feeding to sleep, why not try something a bit gentler? Try reading the Baby Whisperer for sleep advice maybe.

PoppyWearer Sun 25-Aug-13 22:38:43

Trust your instincts. Do what you think is right. Ignore your SILs.

Moving your baby into the nursery might be enough to allow your DH to sleep better.

You will wake up for her, my DH can certainly sleep through our DCs.

Good luck.

Cravingdairy Sun 25-Aug-13 22:42:54

You asked, so...I think you should trust your instincts. Six months is very young to 'self soothe' or sleep through the night. Plenty of toddlers need parental intervention in the night, never mind small babies. If you are uncomfortable with your husband's suggestions do please say so. Every family is different and every child has different needs.

Sleep training is effective at extinguishing crying but will it teach your child that bed is safe and sleep is nice? That's what will build a foundation for good sleep for her lifetime.

Good luck, I know how hard it is when you aren't getting enough sleep.

llamallama Sun 25-Aug-13 22:46:25

I fed my DD to sleep until she grew out of it. She was about 11 months old. I then rocked and sung her to sleep. She was always asleep when I put her down. I never left her to cry. As she grew she naturally got better and more confident.

By 18 months I could pop her awake in her cot, wave goodbye and walk out. No tears. She is now a fantastic sleeper. I never did controlled crying and didn't have to, we progressed naturally. If you want to feed to sleep then do it! It's natural for babies to want to fall asleep at the breast. I know what I would prefer in her shoes.

stopprocrastinating Sun 25-Aug-13 23:31:22

Noooo! I don't want to hear listen to your instincts, and feed to sleep. This isn't what I've agreed to do.

I've agreed with DH to try this controlled crying malarkey, we're three nights in, and don't think he'd be impressed if I changed my mind. What I want to know is, will she eventually self-soothe? We've been told it takes about five or six nights. If I start feeding to sleep again, will that undo the three nights controlled crying?

Unfortunately DH has opinions on parenting, and I'm having to sometimes compromise. Grrrrr, it being his daughter too. His opinions are different to my let's make it up as we go along and follow instincts parenting style. I think he listens to his sisters saying - you sometimes have to be cruel to be kind baloney.

Unfortunately all his friends and sisters did controlled crying. DH works long hours and is a light sleeper. He thinks controlled crying and water would sort out DD's sleep issues.

I do like DH's sisters, I just wish he wouldn't listen to their parenting advice. Although between them, they have five lovely children, and they are definitely not doing a bad job parenting, it's just different to my style IYKWIM.

Faverolles Sun 25-Aug-13 23:36:48

I still feed my 2.5 yo to sleep. He self settles fine when I'm not around at bed time/nap time, so you may find it's not necessary to do cc in any case.

CC has its place in older babies, but 6 months is far too young and will cause needless stress in your baby.

Faverolles Sun 25-Aug-13 23:37:57

"Noooo! I don't want to hear listen to your instincts, and feed to sleep. This isn't what I've agreed to do."

Don't agree to anything that goes against your instincts.

noblegiraffe Sun 25-Aug-13 23:41:18

You don't have to go from feeding to sleep to leaving them to cry. You can feed her till she's sleepy, put her down and stay with her. If she cries you can try shushing and patting her, if that doesn't help you can pick her up and cuddle her till she's a bit sleepier.

Going from feeding to sleep to letting her cry seems a bit of a cruel jump.

Is it working?

Fairylea Sun 25-Aug-13 23:41:34

Too young in my opinion, and I say that as someone who has been lucky and had two babies sleep through from about 12 weeks. Honestly I do think it is luck. I did feed to sleep and feed on demand (formula fed), whenever they woke they got fed back to sleep blah blah. I always kept the room pitch black and didn't change them unless they'd pooped, and I didn't speak, just fed and cuddled and put back down when sleeping or sleepy at the very least, if they started to whimper I'd pick them up and rock and put back down again (about 100 times sometimes!!) But I never let them cry.

I wouldn't let an adult cry themselves to sleep, so I wouldn't let my child.

But that's just my opinion. I just wanted to say though that as my experience shows, you don't need to do controlled crying to have good sleeping babies. So much of it is just genetics and luck ! Sorry.

noblegiraffe Sun 25-Aug-13 23:43:36

Oh and 6 months is a crappy time for sleep. It will probably get better without you doing anything.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 09:04:03

I should probably explain, I do feed her first, but remove her from boob, just before she goes to sleep. I wouldn't let her cry it out, without her being sleepy.

I was trying to comfort her, by ssshhhing and singing to her in cot, but we found she went to sleep quicker when I left the room and DH stayed with her. I don't pick her up, as when I do that, she is worse the next time I put her down awake.

She does go to sleep, but she resists it, so much.

I don't think I can go back on this now, I'm just concerned that we'll stick to it for a week, but then go back to old habits, and it will have been a pointless exercise?

hettienne Mon 26-Aug-13 10:54:24

Well yes, of course if you leave her to cry for a week then go back to feeding her to sleep it will have been pointless hmm What is it you are actually hoping to achieve from leaving her to cry?

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 11:32:03

Good point hettienne. I'm not sure. I think DH considers I spend too long getting her to sleep in an evening, and he doesn't see me. Also he thinks it'd make it easier for others to look after her. We have not yet had an evening out without DD. Also he thinks with DD soon moving to nursery, it'd be good to not have to rely on feeding her to sleep.

Are we doing right? DH thinks so, I need convincing.

hettienne Mon 26-Aug-13 11:38:56

Personally, no I don't think you're doing the right thing in leaving a 6 month old to cry herself to sleep. There are gentler methods to wean her off feeding to sleep.

Putting her through all this only to go back to feeding her to sleep would be ridiculous though.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 11:58:28

Hettienne, what gentler methods would you suggest? I need to find a compromise with DH.

ButteryJam Mon 26-Aug-13 12:02:09

Have you read the no cry sleep solution?

NoComet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:07:11

WTF, you feed your baby to sleep on the sofa, lights low Tv on with subtitles, DHs feet snuggling your hips on the sofa if he wants to be with you.

It's a total non problem.

rachyconks Mon 26-Aug-13 12:17:47

Your baby is too young IMO. We did controlled crying - but not until 8.5 months when baby was settled in her own room. In that time, (2 weeks), we have gone from a baby who wakes sometimes every hour (from birth), to a baby who sleeps 8-8. Last night she didn't even wake for her 3am feed. We had three nights if crying. 1st night, 10 mins, 2nd night, 5 mins, 3rd night 2 mins. She was just READY for it. She definitely was not at 6.5 months.

hettienne Mon 26-Aug-13 12:18:37

Try Baby Whisperer or No Cry Sleep Solution.

rachyconks Mon 26-Aug-13 12:19:40

Also with regards to the water at night, I still wouldn't give my 9 month old water at night, we are BLW and I know she sometimes just doesn't get the calories during the day.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 26-Aug-13 12:25:32

I fed both of mine to sleep for nearly 3 years. Went back to work when they were 10 and nine months, both coped fine. Both are excellent sleepers now, DS had some medical issues that meant he woke for a long time at night, but that was pain and bfing was a great soothing too.

I don't know why you are doing cc either smile

Try googling askdrsears 12 alternatives and askdrsears 31 ways. You might also find getting DH to read the links and the book Sound Sleep by Sarah Woidhouse useful too smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 26-Aug-13 12:26:20

Second the NCSS too smile

Why on earth would you want to cause stress to yourself and your baby when you can just feed her to sleep? DH is going to have to learn to share you.

BM contains nutrients and proteins that waters doesn't. Not only will it help her grow and boost her immune system but it will also fill her stomach, needing to be digested, and she's less likely to wake up hungry.

Leaving a child to cry causes an increased level of cortisol (a stress hormone), which can ultimately have a damaging effect on the body including suppressing the immune system, and altering the way a baby's brain physically grows and how a child then copes with emotional situations in the future. Sometimes it can't be avoided, but why would you want to leave a baby to cry when you don't have to? She's not a toddler who's trying it on - she's a baby who doesn't understand why you're not coming to comfort or feed her.

Please listen to your instincts.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 12:41:00

Is NCSS all about routine? I'm rubbish at routine. Each night she is getting to sleep quicker, I'm not convinced after three nights we should stop? It then makes the pain pointless.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 12:44:53

I'm all for making DD as happy as possible, baronessbomburst, but do not believe a few evenings crying it out, will have any lasting effect.

ExcuseTypos Mon 26-Aug-13 12:45:36

OP you've asked 'Why can I not feed dd to sleep?' In your thread title.

Lots of people have given you reasons why you CAN feed to sleep. And now your saying you don't want to stop CC. It's all a bit confusing.

sameoldIggi Mon 26-Aug-13 12:49:36

Not really sure what you're asking here, do you want to be told the cc will work in a week? It probably will. Though with every sleep regression, teething etc i believe you'll have to do it over again.
I compromise with dh about lots of things. However, having gone through all the "hard" part of sleep/breast feeding with our dcs alone, the decision on how to get them to sleep is ultimately mine. I think it is a massive shock to go from feeding to sleep to cc. At only 6 months too. The no cry sleep solution stuff takes a bit longer, but is far gentler.
The bigger issue here though is, will you always do what dh's sisters do? Will you follow their instructions on weaning, reins, state v private, ear piercing etc etc? Or come up with what works for you and your baby

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 12:51:19

I feel like we've done so much of it, I don't want to undo it? We are making progress in self-soothing. Nearly all our friends/ family have done controlled crying, and advise that it works. It's just me and DD don't like it.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 12:54:44

Oh no, I wouldn't always follow them. I refused dummy and bottle of formula before bed. I just went and agreed to do this, and know DH will be upset if I change my mind three nights in. I'm refusing giving water at night.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 12:58:41

I wanted some reassurance that we are doing the right thing, but not had that.

sameoldIggi Mon 26-Aug-13 12:59:24

How long is she crying for? You mention you wouldn't let her cry it out, if she wasn't already sleepy, so I'm not too sure if she's crying for a minute, ten minutes whatever. I think that makes a difference. Mine would become hysterical if left with dh at a time he wanted milk, at that age.
Do you want to set yourself a limit of a couple more days, and review then?
Thing is though, if you disagree with cc, then even if it does "work" (ie baby stops crying and goes to sleep) you still don't think that's a success on account of the message the baby has got about its needs not being met - obviously easier to persist with it if you fundamentally agree with the principle behind cc. (I personally don't - do you, or is it just your dh?)
Surprised everyone you know does this, certainly not the case on mumsnet.

PinkPepper Mon 26-Aug-13 13:01:07

Please do what makes you and baby happy. That's all I believe that matters.
Yes she might learn you'll just let her cry so not to bother. Is that really what you want though? It doesn't sound like it.
Would your husband leave you crying

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 13:03:24

No I don't agree with cc principle, I want to meet DD's needs. I regret agreeing to it. Not all our friends did it, but most of our closest did, even the health visitor recommends it. DH has been listening to friends / family and wants to follow the advice.

FootOfOurStairs Mon 26-Aug-13 13:03:57

All of your responses focus on what your dh thinks, feels and says. Is he the most important in your triad? Does he listen to your thoughts and feelings on this? Is he considering how distressed your dd is?

Imho you have an easy, free and effective way of getting your dd to sleep that causes her no distress and ensures she is receiving optimal nutriton. I'm not sure I would be in a hurry to change that.

The only things I regret about my parenting are where in hindsight I went against my instincts and listened to advice. Usually kindly meant, it was not right for me or my baby.

Fwiw, I still feed 2 yo dd2 to sleep now, it's a hell of a lot quicker than anything else. Dd1 was fed to sleep to 18 mo and now hops into her ownbed in her own room no issue, but if she has a nightmare she doesn't "self soothe" shemcomes to seek reassurance from her parents. Rightly so imo.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 13:04:27

She cries for up to 15 mins, but its getting less.

EauRouge Mon 26-Aug-13 13:06:05

You want reassurance that you're doing the right thing? All your friends have given you that. Why are you still unsure? If you don't want to do CC then don't. It's not the only way to bring up a child; there isn't one right way to do it. What do you want, ignoring for a moment what your DH and friends think? What feels right to you?

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 13:09:05

Yes it is DH, he is very good with DD, it's just our opinions differ from time to time, and I've regrettably agreed to this. He works ridiculously long hours, and even finds time to help with housework. Definitely a keeper, it's just he thinks principles of cc make sense.

stopprocrastinating Mon 26-Aug-13 13:10:10

I want to feed to sleep, but I also want a happy husband.

BigPigLittlePig Mon 26-Aug-13 13:10:25

I haven't read the other responses, but this is my thoughts (for what they're worth!)

I fed dd to sleep for the first 6 months, and then switched to ff as I returned to work. She still sometimes nods off after a bottle (9mo), but there are more and more occasions now where she doesn't do that - and those occasions are the ones where she has learnt to self settle. I didn't see the point in crying-it-out, or controlled crying, or whatever.

If you did want to stop feeding her to sleep, for whatever reasons, then when she starts to nod off, but hasn't fully fallen asleep, unlatch her, and rouse her again, then when she has finished feeding, put her into her cot whilst she is sleepy but awake. You can gradually increase her "awakeness" at the point of being put into the cot. Much more gentle, although obviously can take a bit of time.

No, I don't think a few nights will have a lasting effect either. smile
I had tried to word my post to say that, sorry.

If you and DD don't like it, don't do it! There ARE other options. I feed DS to sleep and as he got older he stopped falling asleep and was just happy for DH to take him to bed and sit with him for a bit, and that was that. It wasn't any kind of parenting philosophy - it was just how it happened. I am also a make-it-up-as-we-go-and-listen-to-instincts kind of parent.

EauRouge Mon 26-Aug-13 13:11:18

This is a really good website with scientific research about infant sleep. Why do you feel like you need to continue even though you and your DD are both clearly unhappy about it? You keep saying you regret agreeing to it- so have a discussion with your DH and tell him you want to stop.

NoComet Mon 26-Aug-13 13:12:54

OP your baby is SIX MONTHS OLD

What she needs is as longer good night cuddle and as much breast milk as she wants to drink!

That's what she needs! What your DH needs is to man up, trust your instincts and his own instincts and stop discussing your business with his sisters etc.

NothingsLeft Mon 26-Aug-13 13:13:25

I think you haven't got the reassurance because 6 months is actually really young to be left to cry. 15 mins is a long time at this age.

Alway go with your instincts. You will be far more in tune with you baby than your DH. Babies wake up, that's what they do. Nights out together are also uncommon for the first year in my experience. It's not unusual at all, do t feel pressured smile

sameoldIggi Mon 26-Aug-13 13:21:38

If your husband sees that this is making you unhappy, won't he change his mind? Or is it only him who deserves to be happy?
I am trying so hard not to say he is being controlling, but he is.
Fifteen minutes is a very long time.

NoComet Mon 26-Aug-13 13:21:39

Honestly would your DH listen to his sisters about what car to buy? What job to apply for?

He's trying to side step responsibility for his opinions by using his sisters as a shield.

If he doesn't like you feeding the baby to sleep he should say so, and not hide behind "but my sister says" and then you can have a proper couples discussion. That can still end with sorry I'm still feeding DD to sleep because that feels right, because you are the one doing the feeding and you get casting vote.

CityDweller Mon 26-Aug-13 17:09:45

The time is most likely getting shorter because she's realising crying is pointless because she has, to all extents, been abandoned! CIO just solves the symptom (crying) not the cause...

Alexa007 Tue 27-Aug-13 13:42:03

I recommend u buy the baby whisperer book by Tracey Hogg. I used the shh pat tactic with my lo starting with day naps and then at night. Works for me, she now goes to sleep by herself at 5.5mo and sleeps through probably 4/5 nights out of the week. Other nights I pat her back to sleep in about 10-15 mins without a feed. I would never leave her crying unless it was just a tired moan, but sometimes she did cry during the shh pat routine. But I was there talking to her and holding her hand so I felt better about it. Needed to get it sorted before going back to work.

Also my lo falls asleep on the bottle at bedtime so I rouse her before putting her in the cot so she actually falls asleep in there by herself rather than me transferring her while she's sleeping.
I found the book really good.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 28-Aug-13 08:42:11

Just remember that if you do get hold of the Baby Whisperer its not evidence based, its just one woman's opinion and its also on the kellymom list of books to avoid.

Has your DH (or any of his family) read any evidence based information on infant sleep? Get him to read Studies on normal infant sleep, nursing to sleep and other comfort nursing and isis sleep is a fairly new website, its packed with good information and is an excellent place to start smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 28-Aug-13 08:43:33

And the only parent I know who was devoted to the BW has a dd that still wakes every night at 8. That's not weeks or months, that's years shock

hettienne Wed 28-Aug-13 11:29:45

BW is good for sleep techniques that don't involve controlled crying/crying it out. I can see why kellymom wouldn't approve as her breastfeeding info is nonsense and her routines are really for bottlefed babies.

gamerchick Wed 28-Aug-13 11:34:21

I'm puzzled to which technique you're using? Are you doing controlled crying OR Cry it out? They aren't the same thing.

She's very little for CC anyway and I recommend it as the last resort.

TinyTear Wed 28-Aug-13 11:39:49

why is your husband unhappy, how does it affect HIM you feeding your daughter to sleep.
Mine is 19 months old and I still feed her to sleep and then she sleeps the whole night. no sleep training, no night weaning no nothing.
sleep is developmental and she will do it when ready.

does your husband get up in the night?
if he doesn't and you are ok to continue to do it, please do so. for your daughter.

she is still so small, she needs her needs attended. a cuddle is so much nicer than crying in bed...

TinyTear Wed 28-Aug-13 11:43:58


Waiting it out is better than crying it out...

Pachacuti Wed 28-Aug-13 11:47:01

I fed mine to sleep until they went to nursery, and they slept absolutely fine there.

TinyTear Wed 28-Aug-13 12:03:06

Mine has been going to the nursery since she was 8 months, at the nursery she gets patted to sleep when tired and then sleeps for an hour.

out and about she sleeps in the pram...

At home mummy feeds to sleep...

Different techniques for different situations...

and 6 months is soooo young...

Sleepstarved Wed 28-Aug-13 12:14:24

Please don't leave your baby to cry for 15 mins. It's just wrong.
You are not teaching her to self soothe you are teaching her to give up crying.
Studies on cc show that cortisol levels are just as high after 3/4 nights when baby is not crying anymore as they were on night one when they were crying frantically.
Can't you at to DH that it should have worked by now and it isn't so let's try a different method?
( I am feeding DD2 to sleep now for a nap and she wakes 8/9 times a night, so I know about sleep deprivation and how you just want to shout 'go to sleep' but they are tiny babies and need us).

ipswichwitch Wed 28-Aug-13 12:44:09

the trouble with cc is that yes it might work in that you baby will fall asleep quicker, but the minute they get ill/start teething/have growth or development spurts it all goes out the window so you have to go through it all again. like someone said earlier, what it really teaches them is to just stop crying.

I have been in your shoes op, with well meaning but insistent relatives who pile on the advice as gospel, and have very different ways of raising their kids to how me and DH want to do it. What may work for one child does not necessarily work for others.

DS was moved to his own room at 7 months and the night wakings did get less frequent, and DH was happy to continue with DS feeding to sleep until he was 16 mo and he self weaned, because he says it was more of an impact on me since I was the one doing it, and he wanted to support me for as long as I needed it. Now DS is 22 months and I can put him in his cot awake (as can DH), and sit next to him with no interaction until he falls asleep. Next step for us is gradual withdrawal, and DS is now capable of sleeping through, barring illness, teething or gobshite neighbours waking him up.

Seems to me though that you want us all to tell you that you are doing the right thing to make you feel better for agreeing to this in the first place. We can't tell you whats the right decision for you, but i strongly advise you to go with your instincts as they are very rarely wrong.

trilbydoll Wed 28-Aug-13 17:01:40

I think someone has already said this, but isn't 6 months too young for it to have a permanent effect? If you are going to have to re-do it every time she gets more teeth or is ill, it seems a bit pointless to go through all the upset (for you and her!)

mewkins Fri 30-Aug-13 22:40:27

Hi op,
I can't say what is best for you but I did something similar (stayed in room baby whisperer method) at similar age and it worked well. I had to do something as feeding to sleep wasn't working and dd was waking every 40mins all night every night as could ONLY get to sleep by sucking. It was hideous as I was doing every night get up. Dh didn't see a problem as he is a heavy sleeper and rarely woke up. I can sympathise with your dh and lack of sleep is very hard to cope with if you need 8hrs a night to function properly AND you know that there are techniques which can help- it's understandable that he is keen to try a different tactic.
It took about a week but dd has slept well throughout the night since. Even teething etc hasn't disrupted her routine. So it can work very well but ideally both parents should be happy to do it and committed to it as consistency is everything with any sleep training. If you plan to revert back to your old routine it will be a lot of heartache for nothing.

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