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I am considering controlled crying - did it work for you?

(61 Posts)
Travellerintime Sat 12-Jul-08 15:08:23

I can't believe it, but I am seriously thinking of using this with ds. Never considered it with dd (3) as once she got to 6 months her sleep improved massively (partly due to using baby whisperer techniques).

Ds is 6.5 months, has NEVER been a good sleeper, but in the last few months pretty much wakes up every hour and a half after about 11:30/12pm. His 'long' stretch of sleep is when he first goes down in the evening at 7pm, until about 10pm.

Recently I've started taking him in to bed with me when he wakes around midnight as he won't settle in his cot. However, sleep is no better this way - I think we keep each other awake and he ends up feeding his way through the night.

We have gently tried to teach him self-settling techniques (eg pu/pd), but they just haven't worked. I am completely exhausted, and feel that my relationship with my dd and dh is being affected. Not to mention my bonding with ds.

I'm not sure I want to hear controlled crying horror stories (as I've read them before), but I would like to hear from people for whom it's worked...

katpotat Sat 12-Jul-08 15:32:08

Hi there, I could have written this thread,five weeks ago! I am feeling your pain. I did work a treat for us, although i won't kid you that it was easy, it is tough, but it does work. It took us 3 nights. 1st night hellishshock, 2nd not as bad smile had it down on the 3rd grin. DD sleeps 12 hours now, and I feel like a new woman smile

Lovage Sat 12-Jul-08 15:38:28

After a lot of agnonising, we ended up doing extremely short CC - 2 minutes was the time that worked for us. He nearly always stopped crying by 1 min 45 secs. If he didn't we went in and settled him again. But he was a lot older (18 months +) - don't think I'd have done it with a 6 months old, and it probably works differently when they're younger anyway, so such a short time period might not work. But you could try starting with a really short time period to see if that helps.

woodstock3 Sat 12-Jul-08 15:59:37

no horror stories and i'd have gone mad without it. ds was a very good sleeper and sleeping thru at 3 months but then it all went haywire at about 5/6 months and he started waking up again. when he was waking up every two hours and seven months old i decided i'd had enough. by this time i ws confidnet he didnt need the food (he was eating three meals a day and getting lots of milk in the day) and i was exhausted enough to be prepared to try anything.
tis all a merciful blur now but it really didnt take very long - two nights maybe? - before we were down to one waking and then a couple of nights more perhaps down to no waking. he now sleeps like a log for 11 hours a night. also a bit later maybe at 8 months we did mini-cc to get him to nap in the cot (until then he would only sleep in pram while on the go) wihich also worked. i swear by it, me...

Acinonyx Sat 12-Jul-08 19:16:59

I got desperate when dd was about 6 mo and used to regularly stay up for 2-3 hours in the very early morning. I did cc with 5 min intervals. I gave up if it went on too long and waited about 3 weeks before trying again. But on the 3rd attempt it worked - usually only 1-2 intervals and never more than 3. 5 mins can seem a very long time - I used to come onto the pc and watch the time ticking by exactly to the second.

procrastinatingparent Sat 12-Jul-08 19:26:44

Yes, with all four, quite early on, nd it worked within three nights max.

I had lots of provisos though: I had to be sure they were healthy, well-fed, had slept through on their own before, not too hot or cold, etc etc.

FourArms Sat 12-Jul-08 19:31:15

It's worked fantastically with both of mine, although at a later age than your DS. I took DS2 to the GP and HV for a full check first so I didn't have any doubts about his health. It worked with both of them very quickly, and with DS2 (who'd previously woken hourly) he slept through from day 2!

Legoleia Sat 12-Jul-08 19:33:29

Yeah it worked wonders for us - we let DD cry for little bits, then went back and reassured, then left for a bit longer, etc. Had the HV on board to give advice and support and DD was about 9mo but it was SO worth it, agree with making 100% sure they are fed enough, healthy etc etc before the attempt, DD fab sleeper ever since!

Can you call your HV to give you a pep talk and all the techniques you need? That boosted our confidence no end!

Are you breastfeeding?

Ohireallyshouldnt Sat 12-Jul-08 19:35:39

I did it with both my boys. Not easy to listen to them cry, but both took 3 nights and then slept 7pm-7am, with a "dream feed" at 10.30ish until about 5 months. I started the CC thing as early as 8 weeks.
For both, 1st night took over an hour on and off, 2nd night took half an hour, 3rd night was 5 mins and then nothing from then on. A lot of people might be aghast at me leaving my baby to cry for that long - my MIL came round during that time on Day 2 and was horrified! But the good thing now is that DS2 wakes throughout the night and gurgles/sings, but puts himself back to sleep with no tears. He also waits for me to go to him in the morning with no crying, even if i am up and about with DS1 already.
As long as you have a supportive partner/friend who will help you not go in, you get through it and its worth it in the long run, believe me!

Takver Sat 12-Jul-08 19:36:52

We used it in desperation when dd was 9 months old and had gone from a patchy but reasonable sleeper to waking 5 times plus per night.
We waited til DH was away for a fortnight, as it seemed like it would be easier with only one of us, in fact I don't think we would have stuck it out with 2 of us agonising over whether we were doing the right thing.
Don't recall the exact details, but the first night was pretty grim, but as others have said by the third night dd was settling within minutes.
I have to say that (a) I wouldn't have chosen it, apart from the fact that we felt that we were getting so little sleep that we didn't feel that we were being functional parents in the daytime, and that (b) it didn't turn dd into a fabulous sleeper, and she still woke regularly in the night up til age 3+. But at the time it was a lifesaver in a bad situation.

Travellerintime Sat 12-Jul-08 19:37:09

Great - some success stories!

Yes, FourArms, I was thinking of speaking to the HV first before trying it - I feel like I'll need the moral support.

Ds has been on solids since 24 weeks, but we've been taking it pretty slowly so he's still not taking v big amounts. So I'm wondering if I should wait until he's on protein and slightly larger amounts before I start controlled crying.

Also wondering if I should wean off night feeds first? One book I read about it suggested to do a minute less feeding each night for each feed before trying it, so that ds has a chance to up food/milk during the day.

Did you all try it before or after you'd phased out night feeds?

Takver Sat 12-Jul-08 19:47:11

I gave up night feeds at the same point - ie swapped CC for feeding back to sleep. I'm not sure how I could have given up night feeds without the CC as an alternative TBH as it was the only way we could get DD back to sleep. But . . . she was 9 months and a very enthusiastic eater in the daytime, also she had pretty much stopped night feeds at about 6 months and only restarted when her sleeping went haywire.

Caz10 Sat 12-Jul-08 19:51:38

hijack - sorry - but with a related question!!

as far as checking that lo is dry/warm/full up etc before you start - how do you know they're not hungry? That is what always scuppers me - I leave her to cry for about 20 seconds and then cave in because she might be hungry. Obviously if it's 10 mins after last feed I know she's not, but if it's been 2/3hrs I always end up feeding her "just in case"

Travellerintime my dd is 7mths and has an identical pattern to you lo at the moment - she used to be not bad and we'd get a few 4, even 5, hr stretches between feeds - now she sleeps 7ish till 10ish then after that it's just a nightmarish blur of almost hourly wakenings.

will read with interest what you decide to do and how it goes!

PerkinWarbeck Sat 12-Jul-08 19:53:02

CC did bring big improvements for us. DD couldn't self-settled so we did CC at 6.5mths. The worst was over in 3 nights.

DD does still wake very early for the day, and CC hasn't made any difference. And the process itself is obviously very gruelling. But for me, it was worth it.

Ohireallyshouldnt Sat 12-Jul-08 19:57:32

As my boys were so young when i did it (about 8 weeks), they had a feed at 10.30pm whilst still asleep (Dream Feed) and then i would wait to hear sniffles and shuffling to do the night feed (i am a v light sleeper). The CC at bedtime (7pm) had the effect that they didn't cry for night feeds either. But both were able to drop night feeds about 12 weeks old.
(My best friend thinks i am off the scale for dreadful parenting, but she still gets up in the night to her 5 year old and survives on 2-3 hours sleep a night. I don't criticise her !)

Ohireallyshouldnt Sat 12-Jul-08 19:59:55

I should add that i wasn't able to bf my children (inverted nipples), so they were bottle fed "hungry baby" formula, which kept them asleep for longer perhaps.

missblythe Sat 12-Jul-08 20:02:07

I worked for us, and DD (2.4)still sleeps like an angel for 12 hours each night.

It's hard, and you feel like a right old meanie, but it's not as hard as trying to be a parent to 2 little ones with almost no sleep.

AS long as you know he's had enough milk/solids during the day, then he really doesn't need to feed at night, it's just a comfort thing. Not sure how he'll react to that though!

Good luck!

LittleMissBliss Sat 12-Jul-08 20:02:12

Whats CC? How long did you leave your dc's to cry for? How often do you check? What do you do when you check? Do you pick them up, talk to them? or just pop your head in the door?

I really want to do this DS (8 months) is such a grazer and i think feeds out of habit at night. We were co-sleeping until around 6 months when i slowly tried to introduce him into his own room. I'm finding it really hard to keep him in there as he wakes frequently every (3 hours). I'm crap at letting him cry such a soft touch plus the neighbours and dp.

sorry for hi-jack.

DaddyJ Sat 12-Jul-08 20:04:13

What you don't want to do is start CC and then stop halfway with regrets
so here is a thread with lots of reasons against.
Most of them are bollocks, btw, but if you find yourself nodding at the posts DO NOT ATTEMPT CC.

That same OP then actually did go ahead with CC - here is her subsequent thread
(she had namechanged in the meantime).

As regards real 'horror stories' I am not sure I have come across any.
There are cases where CC has not worked. There is no guarantee unfortunately.
Give it 3-5 nights and look for rapid improvements in the time it takes for him to settle.

The other thing to consider is this: CC is a technique specifically devised for cases
where lo expects cuddles/rocking/bfing to precede sleep. Are you sure that's the problem here?
Is he unable to settle himself without bf? If so, CC could be the way forward.

6 months is perfectly fine for sleep training, no worries there.

Good luck smile

LittleMissBliss Sat 12-Jul-08 20:05:47

duh, worked it out!blush

Caz10 Sat 12-Jul-08 20:30:51

daddyj, if the Lo can self settle, do you think CC is then NOT appropriate? Just wondering, cos my DD does go off to sleep on her own, 1st thing at night and for naps too...but is still a crapola sleeper

DaddyJ Sat 12-Jul-08 21:06:30

By crapola sleeper do you mean she wakes up
multiple times during the night and needs you
to resettle her with a bf?

Yes, if the bf is just for resettling then CC (or some form of sleep training) could be useful.

To answer your previous post regarding hunger: it really is your call.
We were at exactly the same point as you
(dd 7 months old, settled fine at 7pm but woke up twice during the night for bf)
and used CC to cut out the 2 remaining feeds.
Result: dd slept through and finally started eating her breakfast which she would not touch before.

Travellerintime Sat 12-Jul-08 21:09:17

Caz10 - your dd and my ds have clearly been swapping notes, as my ds CAN sometimes self settle 1st thing at night and for some naps. But generally, later in the night it has to be breastfeeding or being stroked and cuddled next to me to go back to sleep. I also feed ds quite often 'just in case' and at the moment, anything for a quiet life. But I am sooo desperate for a long stretch of sleep.

Caz10 Sat 12-Jul-08 21:16:25

Travellerintime it's quite horrendous isn't it? I thought things would have improved by now. I started to co-sleep after her 1st or 2nd wakening, but honestly I think that is making it worse.

Daddyj she wakes at least twice during the night, normally more. My rough rule is that if it's been less that 2/3hrs since the last feed I try to settle her without a feed, it does normally work. But on a "good" night, she wakes so regularly at 3hr intervals I just think it must be hunger? eg sleep at 7ish, then wake for feed at 11ish, 2ish, 5ish.

tbh a major factor - and I know this will sound silly - is our neighbours - we have paper thin walls, and when dd starts to wail at 2am my 1st thought is always just to quieten her down.

NigellaTheOriginal Sat 12-Jul-08 21:21:41

When DD was 10 months old (and I was very young and stupid and hadn't read any books and MN didn't exisit) I decided she had got too heavy to rock to sleep any more. So in a way i did do controlled crying in that I put her in her cot, she screamed, i went in, left, etc etc.
It worked. within a couple of days she went off to sleep on her own, and my back and arms eventually reovered.
I do honestly believe it worked for both of us because we were both ready. also because i knew she was old enough to not need cnstant food (or boob).
good luck if yu try it.

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