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My 21 month old DS still has to be rocked to sleep. Please help

(10 Posts)
MyGoldenNotebook Tue 21-Jul-09 20:13:33

I just don't know what to do. He gets hysterical if left in his cot. He's so heavy now that only my husband can rock him for long enough. It takes the best part of an hour every night.

I'm a teacher and my husband also works full-time and I think we have probably spoiled him a bit. We hate him being upset even for a little while which is probably daft. I don't want us to be weak parents. During term time it's a nightmare as it takes up a huge chunk of our evening. It's upsetting too as he always fights it.

We have tried moving it up into his bedroom and just sitting with him, but he just chats and tries to play. We tried leaving him to his own devices to see what time he would go to sleep naturally, and he was still running around at 11.30pm!

I know it's our own fault. We have always done the bath, bottle, book thing but the bed thing just never followed. It was so easy to give him a little rock when he was small, and we enjoyed it. Probably the lazy option eh?

littone Tue 21-Jul-09 22:15:53

Whatever method you chose, you need to be consistent - if you leave him to his own devises every night I am sure eventually he will go to sleep sooner.

You could do it in in small phases (though to be honest the leaving him to it would probably be quicker). Could you rock him until he is nearly asleep, put him in his cot/bed and then pat is back? Then move to patting his back whilst he is in his bed, then to just having your hand still on his back, then slowly withdrawing from the room.

Given the chane my two year old will keep calling us back for a chat and still be awake several hours later! We make it clear it is bedtime and then leave the room. He then throws his pillow/dummy/bear out of bed so we go and put them back and then usually he goes off. We have built up to 15 minute intervals before we go back however much be creates, first itme telling him its sleepy time, after that no eye contact and no chat. Its boring and he gets no response so does go to sleep!! However your son needs to learn to settle himself to sleep - if he wakes in the night does he settle himself or do you have to rock him back to sleep?

Hopefully the summer holidays wil be a good chance to address this. Our challenge is losing the dummy! Good luck!

MyGoldenNotebook Tue 21-Jul-09 22:32:18

Thank you for your reply.

When he wakes in the night he often settles himself. However, we are guilty of bringing him in to bed with us when the crying lasts for longer than a few minutes.

I am determined to be tougher though and I will take your advice on board.

Cathpot Tue 21-Jul-09 22:36:02

I agree with the small phases thing, I have gone in last 9 months (DD now 2.5) from rocking to sleep, patting to sleep, and now sitting next to her until she falls asleep (happily now -about 5 minutes). I am sure there are faster ways but I would rather go slower with less upset.

I think the the key is that if they are already lying down where they go to sleep, you dont wake them trying to put them into the cot once they have gone off.

Actually it got much easier once she was in a bed as it was more comfortable than leaning into a cot or trying to pat her throught bars. There was about a week of her giggling hysterically and climbing out of bed, but eventually solved it by taking her dummy off her if she got up, giving it back to her back in bed and then if that didnt stop her, taking dummy and leaving the room for a couple of minutes then putting her back in bed, reinsert dummy and starting again.

At first it could take half and hour of sitting in the dark but a DS brain trainer thingy kept me sane, when DH did it he read the news on iphone- anything to stop that horrible feeling of being trapped when you are already tired. I was surprised looking back how quickly things got better. I did think about investing in a head torch so i could read a book but luckily its now only 5 minutes and she's asleep! Good luck

Eralc Thu 23-Jul-09 20:46:53

I used to have to lie on our bed with ds and then cautiously lift him and put him into his cot up until about 4 months ago (he's 20 months now). We did the gradual withdrawal thing too - started by putting him in his cot and then doing anything to get him to sleep - there were a few uncomfortable nights leaning over the cot to settle him (and he did cry a bit, but not as much as we expected). My DH did it, as ds wouldn't accept anything other than cuddling from me. Then he moved to patting him on the back, then to sitting next to the cot, then to the other end of the room, and finally to just outside the door. It took a long time (probably about a month), but we did it really slowly to avoid the crying - I suspect we could have done it quicker, but we really didn't want to. In the end, he went to sleep on his own on a regular basis (and it has totally cured the regular night waking we had too).

Sadly, we have just put him into a normal bed, and are back to stage 1 - he will not settle in there at all - so we are giving it another try to see what happens. It's a pain as we are used to having our evenings back, but hopefully it will work again! Good luck with it all - the feeling when you get your evenings back is wonderful!

Buzzbees Wed 05-Aug-09 09:44:15

Our boy is 15 months old and we have the same problem of having to rock him. I'm not sure if I have the energy to stay up and do the gradual withdrawal as he can cry & scream for an hour but I know we need to do something as he's getting too heavy! Let me know how you got on!

MooMooMama Wed 05-Aug-09 10:09:59

My DS is 19 months now and, reading your post rings so many bells with us!! Although our DS didn't need to be rocked to sleep, he insisted on holding our hand until he fell asleep and we could creep silently out of his room! This on its own would have been ok, but he would frequently wake up again several times during the night and we'd have to go through the whole charade again!!!

My DH works long hours and I work part-time, so like you felt that we were probably guilty of spoiling our DS a little bit, because we just didn't want him to be upset during the time we were with him.

Both my DH and I were getting exhausted, so we've ended up biting the bullet and being a lot stricter now. After reading his story and giving him his milk, we tuck him in bed, say 'Goodnight' and leave the room. The first few nights, DS created, throwing his pillow/toys out of his cot - but we just went in every 5 mins and within 15 mins, he was asleep. I felt terribly guilty about letting DS cry, but since we started doing this, he's become a far happier little boy.

We did try the gradual retreat thing, but DS is a very light sleeper and the slightest creak of the floorboards would SOMEHOW wake him and we'd be back to the beginning. Sometimes, he's end up waking up and deciding that it was time to play, which was even harder!! Getting him to sleep ended up taking an hour and 1/2, sometimes even longer...

Whatever method you do try, the most important thing is consistency. Good luck!!

mamadoc Wed 05-Aug-09 20:17:25

We did gradual withdrawl from rocking to sleep when DD was about your sons age.
First we put her in the cot but patted her back instead of rocking, then held hands and this is what we still do (I don't find it any hardship to hold hands for 5 mins and she never wakes at night now). Plus transition to a bed has been really easy as we were always used to staying with her she doesn't get out of bed to find us.
There will be crying at first and standing up but you must never go back to rocking. If DD was standing up I told her that I would leave the room if she didn't lie down by count of three. Then I left and timed one minute went back in and if she lay down stayed but if she wouldn't back out for 1 min. She quite quickly figured better to lie down and have mummy stay. I could never let her cry alone for ages or cry herself to sleep but I found I was OK with this.
The other thing you might have to do is cut back on naps as maybe he just isn't tired if it takes 1hr even with rocking? DD will have a 2hr nap if allowed but then won't go to bed until 8.30/9pm whereas she will be asleep about an hr earlier if she has only 1hr nap.

LoveBeingAMummy Thu 06-Aug-09 08:08:03

I think I remember the baby whisper saying that you should put them in their cot to play for a short while every day if the cry when put in their cot and take them out when still happy. Gradually building the itme up. The moving to putting down and staying next to the cot and gradually moving away.

Agree re the naps it made a difference to my pfb.

Supercherry Thu 06-Aug-09 08:55:39

Mygoldennotebook, we are in exactly the same position as you are with our 18mth old DS, so whatever you try I will be watching your thread with interest.

Good luck.

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