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To ask for advice/ support with gradual retreat sleep training

(10 Posts)
Chinashoes Sun 25-Sep-16 21:40:37

I'm sorry ladies, this should be in the sleep section but there is much more traffic in AIBU and I am in need of some experienced thinking.
My son is 15 months and until very recently I was still breast feeding him to sleep. I was starting to feel really desperate - DS was waking several times through the night, plus I always have to be there at bedtime - until I discovered gradual retreat sleep training. Over the last week and a half I've used the earliest stages of this (so pre the moving chair) to wean DS completely off BF to sleep at both bedtime and nap time. We're now at the stage where I lie on the bed and he curls up and falls asleep next to me. He is also only waking once a night which is amazing.
My problem is that tonight we were due to transition to the next stage - I put him in cot and sit in a chair next to him. As he is basically self soothing next to me on the bed I was expecting this to go ok but it was awful. DS started moving round the cot, playing, standing up etc. However then he decided he wanted to come back out and when he realised that wasn't going to happen he became hysterical, screaming crying etc. After a minute I ended up taking him out of the cot as didn't want him to get into a total state, and he went to sleep lying next to me on the bed.
I suspect that tonight was maybe not the best night as DS was in a funny and slightly cry-y mood all evening. Maybe it was stupid to push ahead tonight, I just really wanted to stick with the program (which involves transitioning every three days) as it has been working so well.
Anyway I would be really grateful for advice from anyone who's done the transfering to cot stage successfully. Was it similarly difficult or does this sound like a bad night? (How much) did your child cry? How did you respond? How long did the whole thing take? Any other info that might be helpful is really welcome! Thanks in advance.

SoggyBeachDays Sun 25-Sep-16 22:29:56

Mainly bumping for you as I don't have a huge amount of constructive advice. I did do gradual retreat with my eldest, many years ago, though. Sadly I remember nights of intense crying (with me beside him) - some leaps were really traumatic for him. I justified them to myself on the grounds that I was right there beside him, but I wonder if that just confused him more. I was very desperate. It did work - he started sleeping through after maybe 2 weeks.

Chinashoes Mon 26-Sep-16 12:51:10

Thanks so much for responding soggybeachdays. It's really helpful to hear your experience. As gradual retreat is often pitched as a gentler approach, I think I naively thought it was going to be relatively easy confused. I think I will steel myself, pull my husband in for support and have another go tonight. Wish me luck and wishing you all the best. Thanks again flowers

ScarletSahara Mon 26-Sep-16 12:55:47

I think it must be really confusing and upsetting for them to suddenly be denied a cuddle so take it even slower perhaps? I don't think programmes suit all babies/toddlers-they have no idea what's going on, only what they feel. Do not be hard on yourself for not following it strictly flowers

selly24 Mon 26-Sep-16 13:30:52

I think the next stage should be you lying him in cot and you lying on a foam fold out bed or z bed/ camp bed low bed next to him so only the bars between you, you can then stroke his arm offer reassurance, moving the bed further away each night. Any transition is going to be tough, but believe me I have been through this with three children and it is so so worth it. Stick with it. Short term pain for long term gain. A child who loves their bed and can self settle is a gift.

Chinashoes Mon 26-Sep-16 21:41:00

Thank you both Scarlet and Selly great advice and I agree on both counts - I don't feel comfortable withholding cuddles and security when my boy is asking for them (hence giving up last night) but at the same time really want to make this work now.
As it happens, DS has picked up a tummy bug so I've put any further transition on hold for tonight. Once he's better I think I'll give the camp bed suggestion a go and see what happens. Thank you both again flowers chocolatechocolate

seminakedinsomebodyelsesroom Mon 26-Sep-16 21:52:12

You didn't give up. You responded to you baby's needs smile

I have done gradual retreat. I agree with pp who said about staying next to the cot/bed and stroking/patting/resting hand on him.

The problem with all these types of programmes is that the baby hasn't read the book, so don't always do what the book says! I hope you feel you can adapt it to suit you and your DS as I think gradual retreat can work. Good luck.

mygorgeousmilo Mon 26-Sep-16 22:36:48

Sorry I'm falling asleep must be quick! All the stages take ages, you'll get there in the end though - mine all hop off to bed no issues and I used this method to slowly withdraw. All fine and content and secure now. Takes weeks and weeks but you've stopped bf to sleep in 1.5 weeks, that's good progress!

Nicketynac Mon 26-Sep-16 22:50:20

I did my own version of this, and I used to sit on the floor next to the cot so that my son could see me at eye level and we could hold hands. I just withdrew whenever I felt he was ready rather than having a schedule. It was frustrating at times as I felt we sometimes took a step back but we got there in the end.

Chinashoes Wed 28-Sep-16 16:13:52

Thank you so much seminaked milo and nicketynac. This is all really helpful and I think I will try some gradual combo of sitting on the floor, patting in the cot, handholding once he's ready. It's good to be reminded that we've made a really big leap forward already and can move on at our own pace rather than just doing what the book says. Thanks again cakebiscuitchocolate

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