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To sleep train?

(101 Posts)
Eeffy Tue 07-Mar-17 07:01:45

He's one. Still not sleeping through although he's come close a few times so I know physically he can. I'm tired and back to work full time in a few weeks

He's still bf at night - normally 2 feeds. I could cope with 2 quick feeds but recently he's not setting after 45 mins and we often end up cosleeping just to get some sleep

He's never self settled - rocked or fed to sleep. Cries the minute he goes in cot awake and can really ramp up the hysterics quickly. Won't lie down just stands up and shakes bars

Hate my baby crying and don't know how I feel about sleep training but I feel he's sleeps gone backwards recently and I've not had a solid nights sleep in over a year. Aibu considering it?

confusedandemployed Tue 07-Mar-17 07:03:48

Definitely not IMO. Although I'd be night weaning as a priority too.

JennaRainbow Tue 07-Mar-17 07:09:32

YANBU. You must be exhausted. I can totally sympathise, and sleep traiiing was the best decision we made. At his age he definitely doesn't need to eat at night, which means it's just habit for him now. Sleep training, to whatever degree you want to do it, won't last more than a week tops hopefully. You can do a gentle version of it. How is his daytime napping? The most important thing is self settling, that's half the battle won. He needs a consistent routine at nights too. You don't need to leave him to cry for hours on his own, he will still know you're there if he needs you, just don't get him out the cot unless you absolutely have to, he needs to know it's bedtime. I promise you guys will get there, it's for everyone's benefit that he does it. Good luck!

Softkitty2 Tue 07-Mar-17 07:22:55

Is your baby my baby? 😀😱 my baby is the same and I am back to work, still bfeeding at night 2-3 times. She has never slept through. Won't take a bottle. I have tried follow on milk of different brands, made-up milk etc (to see if she would take to any formula milk) but no she refuses.

How do I even start weaning night feeds?

My fear is she won't settle back to sleep if she doesn't have a feed at night and I can't cope with that if I have to work in the morning.

Nan0second Tue 07-Mar-17 07:30:55

Have a look at jay Gordon night weaning. Very calm and a good first step.
Consider gradual retreat for the rest once the night weaning is done.
There is a thread called what worked for us and it really helped here.

Eeffy Tue 07-Mar-17 07:31:07

Night weaning is less of a priority than self settling, he's a skinny boy and has been really slow to solids although he's been doing brilliantly the past few weeks - I'm still concious of his weight gain

I just can't keep being up for 45mins + at night anymore

InMemoryOfSleep Tue 07-Mar-17 07:38:04

Obviously it's entirely your decision, but maybe have a look at Sarah Ockwell-Smith's Gentle Sleep
Book first? It gives you a really clear idea of what's 'normal' at this age, and also talks about how to settle without sleep training (which has been shown to be potentially harmful- although nothing conclusive).

Totally with you on being completely knackered, but for me it was about adjusting my expectations - i.e. expecting to be up in the night, that's what babies do - and learning to cope with that, rather than resorting to sleep training. Also, if co-sleeping is working for you then there's nothing wrong with it - go for it, as long as you're doing it safely.

Eeffy Tue 07-Mar-17 07:38:12

Softkitty2 it's hard isn't it 😴😴 I'm back part-time and we often end up bed sharing because I just want sleep, but I want him back in his cot.

I'm happy to keep BFing because we have allergy issues to a d I love my morning, after work and bedtime cuddles but he's also started nipple tweaking during his nighttime feeds which goes through me

Eeffy Tue 07-Mar-17 07:43:29

I've read the gentle sleep solution sad and didn't find it helpful

Cosleeping is fine if it's an active choice but I want him back in his bed, he can do. We had a run of illnesses which we only got through by cosleeping (which is what it's perfect for) but now better and he's sleep has gone backwards

Adjusting expectations was fine for maternity leave, but he's over a year now and I'm back at work in a responsible job (hpc) and need sleep

Softkitty2 Tue 07-Mar-17 07:49:44

eeffy we managed to stop the co-sleeping before xmas because we weren't getting any sleep.

Like you I am finding it hard to stop bfeeding because she is a small baby and if she won't take any form of formula milk, I feel guilty stopping the breastmilk.

If she would self settle I would be so happy but so far we are just about managing with the frequent night waking.

Goodluck and hope you get good advice

InMemoryOfSleep Tue 07-Mar-17 07:53:49

@Eeffy I guess as the book doesn't really offer a 'solution' as such, more reassurance on what's normal and what to expect, although I think unfortunately that's because there isn't really a 'fix'. It sounds like your DS has gotten used to co-sleeping and now finds it hard to settle without you there? So I really don't think sleep training is the answer. Can you have his cot in your room instead of co-sleeping, so he's close but not in your bed? And you're right to keep up the BFing, night weaning doesn't necessarily equal more sleep, and will potentially unsettle him more at the minute.

CluelessMummy Tue 07-Mar-17 08:01:01

YANBU. I have begun a gentle method of sleep training today - my DD is 5mo and rocked to sleep each time, and I'm already at my wits' end so how you're coping at 1yo I do not know and I really feel for you. The sleep consultant who is helping me showed me a video of a 2yo "client" who screams bloody murder when put to sleep. Leaving my DD for just a couple of minutes was enough to send me over the edge (I know, I know, I'm sleep deprived, please don't judge!) but now I have that video burned into my retinas and I know I've made the right decision. Could you still do this in a year's time? If not, YANBU! Good luck xx

BeanBabies Tue 07-Mar-17 08:05:31

Perhaps get a night nurse or maternity nurse to help sleep train him? They're usually very good.

InMemoryOfSleep Tue 07-Mar-17 08:09:53

@CluelessMummy do you have some info about the method you're using? I'd be really interested to read it - I'm kind of taking the attitude of 'this too shall pass' when we're having a tough time, which it inevitably does, but always up for any new advice...

CluelessMummy Tue 07-Mar-17 08:37:53

Inmemoryofsleep We've only just started so no idea if it will work yet but here's my consultant's method for now:

Put DD in cot, stroke her head, whisper a lullaby in her ear, say goodnight, leave the room.

Ignore any grizzling, wait for crying, then leave to cry for 1 minute.

Return and pick up DD to soothe. she calls this "the benefit of the doubt" pick-up, ie she might need a burp. Put her back down when she is drowsy but just awake.

Leave again. Allow for 2 minutes of crying. Return, but this time do not pick up. Shhh in her ear, put a hand on her chest etc, until calm.

Leave again, this time allowing for 1 minute of crying.

She then advises alternating between 1 and 2 minute intervals for three cycles, so 1,2,1,2,1,2,1 (not picking up apart from that first time).

If the baby isn't asleep by that point we "abandon it", ie by feeding if there could be a need (but not feeding to sleep) or quiet play until tired signs show again. But not going back to the "old ways"!

Not sure how we'll go yet but it's surely got to be better than the hour of rocking we're currently doing just to get a 45 minute catnap out of her (or feeding to sleep in desperation at 10pm shock).

NB This isn't for a middle of the night sleep, just daytime naps and bedtime, which for us is 7.30.

Olympiathequeen Tue 07-Mar-17 08:46:42

I think your first step is to stop the middle of the night breastfeed and give only the bedtime comfort feed. You probably know that he doesn't need to drink in the night and giving something so rewarding as a bf is actually promoting him to wake.

Do the technique in the book (got it too) of a quick cuddle, offering a cup to drink, and returning to cot. Then slowly reduce these comfort things and just settle him down with minimal interaction. Basically stop rewarding him for waking. It can be hard but it's easier to do it now than when you are back to work.

BarbarianMum Tue 07-Mar-17 08:49:23

We tried the 'No cry sleep solution' when ds1 was 10 months. Didn't work - I do think you have to accept there will be some crying if you want to sleep train. I did want to - was back at work and on my knees.

Then we tried removing night feeds. When he woke at night dh would go in with a bottle of water and stay with him whilst he screamed until he was settled. He was never left to cry alone. I sat on the sofa and sobbed during these periods. After 3 nights he started sleeping through because clearly water and daddy werent worth waking up for.

My biggest regret 11 years on is that we didn't do it sooner, and that I worried so much about doing it.

InMemoryOfSleep Tue 07-Mar-17 09:07:24

@CluelessMummy thanks for that - sounds pretty sensible, fingers crossed it works for you! At the moment DS goes down fine first thing, and resettles after a feed about 12ish, but it's the wake up around 2-4am that we struggle to settle him. But don't think we're doing too badly, certainly not at tether's end (I'm lucky to have a wonderfully helpful DH!). I'm definitely anti-sleep training in general so will just persevere and hope it gets better as he gets older!

Yolandafarthing Tue 07-Mar-17 09:10:57

I think you need to night wean though I know it's hard. You get into a vicious circle though - worried they don't eat enough during the day so you feed them extra at night, then they don't eat in the day...etc

I can't really talk as my one year old still wakes for a bottle at about 10.30 but he goes right back off to sleep til morning so I can live with that.

In your case I think you need to night wean or sleep training isn't going to be effective.

mollymaid16 Tue 07-Mar-17 09:12:27

My daughters 2 and sleeps in beside use and who cares we all get a full night sleep every single night, sometimes I move her into her own bed when she's asleep but I don't stress or fuss about It therefore it's not a problem. Over time she will be in her own bed more and more

The feeds won't be helping though

nutbrownhare15 Tue 07-Mar-17 09:20:36

I suppose it comes down to whether your hating the thought of him crying overrides your wanting him to sleep through the night. Personally (and it is a very personal decision) I decided not to sleep train and change my lifestyle to accommodate the wake ups ( eg going to bed early, weekend lieins, cosleeping). The risk of the impact of uncomforted crying and stress on the brain is unknown but the possibility was too mich for me.I also hired a gentle sleep consultant whose advice was in line with the no cry sleep solution ( this is a different book to the gentle sleep book). We also gradually introduced dad into the bedtime routine, but I went to her if she got upset. Then he started doing 1st wake up occasionally and now I can sleep in the spare room while they cosleep if I need a full night. All 3 of us get our sleepneeds met a lot if the time. It's a compromise that accepts we all, including my daughter, have needs at night. It is perfectly possible to change sleep habits gently with no uncomforted crying. The sleep training lobby is insidious about making us think that sttn is normal. It's not. It's very normal for a one year old to wake up a couple of times a night and want to go back to sleep.cuddling mum. It's society that makes us think this is abnormal or wrong and fails to support parents adequately.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Tue 07-Mar-17 09:21:36

Hi OP. My DS was the same. I think most breastfed babies are. My DS never slept through until we stopped night feeds. And they were the last breastfeeds to go at a little over 2 years. Sounds like a grind getting through another year of this.

Our solution was to put him in his own big bed. Adult mattress on a trundle bed just off the floor with a safety barrier. This allowed me to feed him to sleep in bed, co-sleep in his room or sneak back to my room after a feed without waking him. I got so much more sleep this way.

Please note that if you're putting him in a big bed you will need a safety gate on his bedroom door. This is not just for his safety! No wandering in for a chat at 5am for you! My 3.5yr old DS still has one on his door. It has been brilliant!

Breastfed babies like a comfort feed and all the sleep training people will tell you to do is drop night time feeds. You don't want to do that so I think sleep training would be a waste of time for you.

It is great for kids to self-settle, but I never sleep trained DS, he was fed to sleep until after 2 years and turns out he can self settle just fine. It's innate. It's not that they can't do it - just that they want you. Being there for them is what being a parent is all about.

bakedappleflavour Tue 07-Mar-17 09:25:02


The risks of chronic sleep deprivation on both adults and children are a lot more concretely proven than the risks of sleep training.

I agree it's normal for babies and toddlers to wake - my own one year old doesn't STTN every night. But if he was waking multiple times and taking ages to settle after I would be on the verge of a nervous breakdown and I know this from experience.

You have to do what's right for your family. Only you know what you can cope with.

Personally when my LO was waking every hour for boob at 8 months it wasn't remotely helpful people saying "oh it's normal". I almost cried with relief when someone said "you know it's ok to sleep train him don't you?"

Best decision for us.

InMemoryOfSleep Tue 07-Mar-17 09:27:32

@nutbrownhare15 I think you're bang on - we've lost sight of what is 'normal' baby and child sleep and seem to be searching for ways to tap into this mythical ability for babies to 'self settle', which they are just not biologically capable of doing until they're older. I found this article really sets out very clearly what many people see as sleep 'problems' and what is actually normal -

SomethingBorrowed Tue 07-Mar-17 09:30:17

I am all for sleep training.
My advice would be to have a clear idea of what you want to be "allowed" or not and stick to it: co-sleeping / milk / taking your DS out of his cot for a cuddle...
After 1-3 nights most children get it.

We always had quite a strictly approach to bedtime, never co-slept (even when unwell - they don't ask for it as they don't even know it is an option).

Re milk, we had a phase, when my DTs would drink more than one full bottle each every night, so I thought they needed it, but after months and no improvement we switched to offering water and suddenly they stopped waking up. If you are worried about calories add one or two healthy snacks during the day (maybe just before bedtime?).

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