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To think that not all babies can be 'sleep trained'?

(33 Posts)
Susiethetortoiseshellcat Wed 11-Jan-17 09:22:46

I have a 9 month old who has never been a great sleeper. As a newborn he tended to sleep on or next to me and for no longer than an hour at a time. He started to improve and would go 3 hourly stretches but then became worse again at about 5 months.

A friend had a sleep consultant who she raved about so I got some advice from her, established a strict daytime routine, bedtime routine and did timed comforting. Baby still woke throughout the night but went back to 3 hourly stretches which I could cope with.

With sickness and teething I got back into the habit of feeding during the night and baby started waking hourly again. Everyone has told me to sleep train. Family, friends, random mothers I meet at groups and now the health visitor. HV said at his age I should night wean. So for the past week I have tried timed comforting, not feeding, sending DH in with water, ignoring if the crying isn't too bad and generally following everyone's advice. My baby is not sleeping through. He is waking less frequently (2/3 times a night) and is generally easy to comfort but this doesn't seem to be good enough for everyone. They say that I must be doing something wrong as if I was sleep training him properly he would sleep through.

I am coping with this level of waking but feel that maybe I am doing something wrong, am not teaching my baby to sleep properly or, as everyone says, it will get worse again. Hv says I should leave him to cry as there isn't anything he wants but this is traumatic and doesn't seem to work - he just cries and then cries again the next night.

Am I right in thinking some babies can't be trained? And will he ever be able to sleep through the night?

AchingBack Wed 11-Jan-17 09:26:33

I completely sympathise and agree with you, I've been there and been told it's because I'm doing stuff wrong even though I've done everything I was told.
My bad sleeper is now 9 years old and is still a terrible sleeper-turned out for us there were underlying reasons and she now has melatonin to help her sleep but even with that she still wakes at 5 and through the night sometimes.
That's not to say your child won't ever sleep through though so please don't give up hope-just some children take longer to get into the swing of it.

JohnLapsleyParlabane Wed 11-Jan-17 09:27:33

Leaving aside all the 'advice' you've been given. Do you think there's a problem?
Your baby sounds absolutely normal to me. I personally didn't even think about night weaning until my DD was one.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 11-Jan-17 09:31:24

If he is waking two or three times and is easy to comfort then, I agree with you: the situation is liveable.
IME: Leaving a baby to cry only works if its a very short sleepy, grumbly sort of cry. If they are tired they do sometimes go back to sleep from that, by themselves.
From your OP, it sounds like you are already ignoring in that situation and are only intervening if it sounds like the baby is genuinely distressed.
You and I both know that a properly distressed baby will work themselves up into hysteria and be impossible to comfort if you just leave them.
I think you are doing the right thing here. If you are relatively happy with the situation as it is- I say stick to your guns!

Susiethetortoiseshellcat Wed 11-Jan-17 09:31:33

I don't feel there's a problem at the moment. Yes I am tired but I sort of expected that with a baby. It's just everyone I know with a baby the same age (a few friends had babies at the same time) and Nct friends, seem to have better sleepers. Also I am worried if I do feed him in the night he wil, start waking hourly again and I struggled to cope with that. He is breastfed if that makes a difference and has only really started to get into solids.

WilliamHerschel Wed 11-Jan-17 09:32:10

When my DD (now 2.5 years old) was a baby, she did not sleep very much. Woke frequently throughout the night, did not sleep often in the day. I felt pressured that she should be sleeping a certain amount because that's what everyone around me said. We tried various sleep training methods and routines but it just did not happen. I accepted that it didn't work and just tried to go with the flow which improved things for all of us. Although she wasn't sleeping as much as everyone said she should, we weren't spending hours every night trying different methods to get her to sleep.

She stopped sleeping in the day entirely at 18 months, maybe a bit sooner, and her night time sleeping improved a lot, but she still doesn't do 7-7 or whatever it is they are supposed to do at night. She just doesn't seem to need that much sleep.

Maybe you can train them (or encourage may be a better word) to sleep as well as they can, but that amount might vary from baby to baby. Some might sleep 12 hours at night and have an hour or two sleep in the day. Some might sleep 10 hours a night with no nap. My DD probably does about 10 hours at night with one to two wakings. I think the idea that all babies should be sleeping the same amount of time each day and night doesn't make sense as they all are different.

HardofCleaning Wed 11-Jan-17 09:32:37

YANBU. Different babies (like different adults) are different. They experience different levels of anxiety and require different levels of comfort. Most parents are tuned in to their own baby and can tell if their baby genuinely needs the comfort at night or when they can get slowly used to self soothing. It happens for different kids at different times.

It's the same with anything with a bit of encouragement some kids will walk at 9 months, with others even if you do anything right they won't take a single step until 18 months. Doesn't mean you've done something wrong - you're parenting your kids not anyone else's.

Susiethetortoiseshellcat Wed 11-Jan-17 09:33:32

Yes I am leaving if it's a sleepy cry and often he will go back to sleep. It's when he starts screaming, crawling around his cot and standing up. I can see him on the monitor and he is screaming and bashing his head against the cot he gets so worked up. If I left him to cry every time he would do this every night.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 11-Jan-17 09:34:09

"I don't feel there's a problem at the moment"

There's your answer

anothernamechange17 Wed 11-Jan-17 09:42:58

Agree completely. DS1 slept through at 14 mo the. DS2 is 9 months and wakes every 2 hours. We tried everythingsad

Swearwolf Wed 11-Jan-17 10:21:32

My girl is 9 months and it wouldn't even occur to me to night wean yet. Just like you, we're having 2 or 3 brief wake ups a night and it's totally manageable.

My oldest, now 4, was an awful sleeper. Woke up hourly for months on end. But it got better, and he did start sleeping through the very moment he night weaned, but it came from him not me. I'd gradually cut down his feeds but one night when he was ill he didn't want milk any more, and I had no way to get him to sleep other than giving him a cuddly bunny (his best friend from that moment on) and rubbing his back until he slept. After that, that was how he got to sleep and he went right through. But I think it was successful because it came from him, he was ready, I just gave him a little nudge.

If it's working for you, don't change it! And don't listen to what everyone else is doing, their babies are not your baby, and they may very well be embellishing the truth anyway...

Susiethetortoiseshellcat Wed 11-Jan-17 11:45:04

Swearwolf, how old was your son when you night weaned?

Swearwolf Wed 11-Jan-17 12:02:33

He was 14 and a half months. I started cutting down on day feeds at about 9 months (stopped feeding on demand exactly and tried to give feeds around his meals), by a year it was just morning and bedtime, and by the time I went back to work at 13 months it was just bedtime (plus any night feeds, usually just one by this point). Then I started cutting the bedtime feed down until it was just five minutes. Then he didn't need it any more, and night weaned himself.

mummyof2pr Wed 11-Jan-17 12:14:09

I completely agree!!! I'm also at my whits end with my DH family telling me to just "sleep train" my 4mo DS and get him on a "schedule". Every baby/child is different and it's not always as easy/possible as they think angrysad

QuilliamCakespeare Wed 11-Jan-17 12:18:54

I don't think ANY babies should be 'sleep trained' confused

BertrandRussell Wed 11-Jan-17 12:22:02

The whole idea of having to "train" a baby to sleep is ridiculous.

Tftpoo Wed 11-Jan-17 12:33:42

I could have written your post - my 9 month old is exactly the same. If we try and techniques to 'train' her she just gets hysterical so I've just had to accept that this is the way she is. Twice a night is much better than where we were a month or two ago so I'm going with it. Doesn't make the sleep deprivation any easier, I just feel less stressed about it. I do dread talking to freinds and family and even the HV though as they always ask how she's sleeping and tell me I need to 'break the bad habits'.

StandardNameHere Wed 11-Jan-17 12:33:52

I've never really agreed with sleep training .. It's a baby not a gadget, why should they just go to sleep because we want them too- as adults we sleep when we are tired and wake throughout the night but fall back to sleep... They all get there in the end just unfortunately some take longer than others (mine included in the latter!)
Obviously it would be lovely if my little one could just be put in her cot at 7 on the dot, fall asleep and not wake until 7 in the morning but I think it's a ridiculous expectation.
I get slated by family/ friends though as I don't agree with cc either

Bettyspants Wed 11-Jan-17 12:39:22

I was told to sleep train. Baby waking hourly and using me as a giant life sized human dummy for 6 months. For me there was absolutely no was I was leaving her to cry unless it was to have a wee or walk away for a minute to regain my breath! I preferred the waking over crying , it sorted itself out in the end and all was happy. However if you were finding it difficult or at the end of your tether that's another matter completely. If your ok with it why do you 'have' to have a perfectly sleeping baby?

frazzlebedazzle Wed 11-Jan-17 12:47:37

Sorry, I've not RTFT but I think I was just where you were when dd was 11 months so just wanted to add what helped.

I agree no need for 'training' (sounds horrible doesn't it!) but I did night wean at 11 months and it was the best thing to do for us, absolutely. She was eating well but waking for boob but not for milk IYSWIM. If your baby is eating well & getting milk in the day, you could try it, but don't feel like you have to! You'll decide when it's right.

If you do night wean, do not feel like this means you have to leave your baby alone to cry. We did DH going in to comfort her. If it's not an option I do think you could do it yourself. Yes of course he put her down and gave her chances to go off, but she was never left alone crying. We explained what was happening, allowed her to cry, stayed with her. She stopped waking up after the second night, and neither night was dreadful tbh. And she was with a loving parent the whole time.

She needed to sleep & so did we. And I'm still bf-ing morning & night so it didn't upset bf-ing overall.

She's been great since, only wakes on occasion with teeth etc.

HTH.

Susiethetortoiseshellcat Wed 11-Jan-17 13:42:47

frazzle that is sort of what I've been trying but, after a week, he is still waking during the night. The first night instead of feeding him DH went in with water, after an hour he wasn't calming down so I went in and cuddled him in his cot but he didn't sleep for another hour. The next night I did the same and it was even longer. Then the night after he woke even earlier and nothing would console him after 2 hours, cuddling, rocking, timed comforting, etc, so I had to just stay with him until almost morning. Maybe I'll try again in a couple o months as he has only really started eating well and not always.

Betty people keep telling me it won't sort itself out unless I sleep train. How long did it take and did he just start sleeping better without you doing anything differently?

ACatCalledFang Wed 11-Jan-17 14:02:29

I certainly think some babies are more trainable than others. I'm not the best person to advise as I'm the proud owner of an adorable 16 month old boob monster who likes to keep us on our toes and alternates, this month, between sleeping through (albeit with grumbling and grunting episodes loud enough to wake us with the monitor on the lowest setting) and waking at 0200 and refusing to go back to sleep for 2.5 hours. But the fact that he sometimes sleeps through should give you hope as he woke hourly from 3-6 months and certainly woke twice a night minimum from 7 to 9 months.

The one thing I would suggest is ignoring people who tell you what your baby "should" be doing. Sleep-wise, my experience is that normal is a very broad spectrum indeed when it comes to babies, and not all HVs are quick to acknowledge this especially when you point out their advice hasn't worked. Certainly my HV looked outraged when, after being told I was doing it all wrong and should do it differently, I pointed out that I'd already tried what she'd just recommended and it had made matters worse..... I'm sure there are some excellent HVs out there but the ones I've seen have not been very helpful on sleep.

If there were easy answers, people would make millions, but I honestly don't think anything I did made any difference sleep-wise, with the possible exception of getting DP to go in and attempt to resettle (giving about 10-15 minutes unless really upset) before offering milk. We tried most things bar controlled crying, although didn't give gradual withdrawal (details on the Sleep forum under What Worked For Us) a proper go. He's generally improved with age.

minipie Wed 11-Jan-17 14:08:21

I did sleep training (CC) on DD1 <dons hard hat>. It reduced her wake ups from 6-7 per night to 1-2 per night. The 1-2 did occasionally disappear but then would reappear as soon as there was anything that needed attention like teething, regression, colds or extra hunger from a growth spurt.

That was a success in my book! The difference between 6-7 wake ups and 2 wake ups is enormous.

So I would say - your baby has been successfully sleep trained. You have got rid of the "habit" or "sleep association" wakings and you are now just down to genuine "something is wrong" wakings. Of course you can't train a baby out of waking if something is wrong.

Some babies will sleep through even if they are teething or have a cold, that doesn't mean they have been better sleep trained than yours, it just means they are probably deeper sleepers or don't feel the pain as much.

Camomila Wed 11-Jan-17 14:53:20

If you're ok with it then I think it's fine for a 9 month old to wake a couple of times a night, mine certainly does.
I think a lot of what people think babies 'should' do seems to depend on culture/what others around you are doing.

For e.g. In Italy where I'm from most babies stay in their parents room for 1 year plus, paediatricians are scathing about CC, and the official advice seems to be if they won't sleep in their cot just bring them in your bed they won't get spoiled (appreciate this might not be everywhere in Italy but this is the experience all my older cousins with children had so it's my 'normal')

Similarly some HV visitors say not to night wean before a year...my NCT friends and I all go to weigh ins in the same town but at different clinics and have had completely different advice about the same issue (we were all asking about eating in our case)

InTheDessert Wed 11-Jan-17 15:26:16

DS1 couldn't be sleep trained.

I think there are some babies who sleep well whatever you do to them.
Some babies who can be pursuaded to sleep with encouragement.
And some babies who don't need sleep in the way the books say they should.

Food is the same.

Do what you can, get as much sleep as you can, and roll with it. He will grow, and start to understand that he might be awake, but everyone else wants to sleep, and only to wake us if there is a problem. That was about 2.5 for us. He still doesn't sleep aged 7.

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