How/when to not develop bad habits...(14 Posts)
My ds is 7 weeks old. I have posted a few questions on mn since I had him with really helpful responses and have followed other threads with interest. If there has ever been any worries about bad habits developing the general advice has been, don't worry, he's tiny, he's too young to develop them, go with it, chill. Which is exactly what we've done and I'm loving it all.
But I'm thinking now, when do the habits become an issue. I have totally got into the habit of breastfeeding him to sleep and he regularly comes into bed with us after a night feed if he won't settle. Both of these things I would really rather not do in the long term. But when and how is a good time and a good method to get out of it. I'm very happy to carry on for however long, but I really would like him to self settle at some point and much as I love sleeping with him occasionally, I really want our bed to be our bed.
Any advice would be great. Cheers...
Sorry, ilove - these are still not 'habits'
At 7 weeks it is still less than 2 mths since your baby was a part of you. He needs you to be close and falling asleep feeding is normal and co-sleeping is normal.
You don't need to do anything to stop these things.
The falling asleep feeding will gradually resolve itself - he probably falls asleep already in the car or pram from time to time, anyway, so you know he can do it without feeding.
If you decide to stop the bringing-into-bed, which is something he may not spontanously stop himself, then you can teach him when he is older that he is still safe and loved even if he is not actually next to you at night. There is no set age for this.
Sounds as if the best thing for you is to continue doing what you are doing and be patient and chill
Well it depends how long you consider long term If you carry on indefinitely, he will not want to sleep with you when he is 18! OTOH he may still want to spend part of most nights in with you when he is 3 or 4 or so - so it depends what you are comfortable with.
On the co-sleeping occasionally issue, have you thought about using a sidecar cot? They attach to your bed so that the baby has their own sleeping space but is still easy to scoot over and feed them easily in the night, then you can either scoot them back or cuddle them for the rest of the night. That's the arrangement we have (DS 9mo) and I'm just starting to think about lowering the cot and having it separate as he can pull himself up now and last night he decided it would be fun to get up at 3am and play, loudly, for an hour . I couldn't go back to sleep and leave him to it either as the level of the cot means he could tip himself over the side if he leant too far.
The timings have been what worked for us. I think I could easily have put him in a separate cot in our room at 6 months or so when he was mostly sleeping through and from then move the cot away from our bed, and finally into his own room, I just like having him close still.
The No Cry Sleep Solution is a good book to read
Hello, Probably not what you want to hear but I think it depends on the child to when habits start forming. Both my dc's got into the habit of feeding to sleep very early (in the first few weeks as far as I remember) and coming to bed with us. I think if it is something that really bothers you it's best to nip in in the bud as soon as possible. We co-slept with our ds until he was 3 and a half when dd came along and took over! I found that at that point bribary was the best method (toys, sweets etc!)and he now sleeps no problem in his own bed. I am quite happy to have our dc2 in bed until we reach that point again but it totally depends on you as a couple.Feeding to sleep only really stopped when I stopped breast feeding at about a year I think.
Have you got the baby whisperer book by Tracy Hogg? She talks a lot about habits and accidental parenting as she calls it. It has methods for dealing with these sorts of issues. I have never bothered to actually put them into practice but they may be useful to you! Goodluck. .
I would really not worry and just go with the flow for the first 3-4 months. Once you emerge from the "doing anything to get through" bleary fug, you will be able to work out whether what he's doing constitutes a 'habit'. FWIW I co-slept randomly with DD2, fed her to sleep etc, and once she was not waking for so many night feeds at around 4 months she settled very happily, awake, in her own cot.
I did that with ds1 and it did cause a set of night time problems that we got sorted in the end. So with ds2 I didn't want to repeat the problems, so as hard as it is when he falls asleep after a feed gently wake him up put him in the cot lay your hand on him for a few seconds then leave him. Any problems or bad habits you do have can be sorted with a couple of days of hard work, I used put him down to say out loud I'll give you 10 mins, then time it as it can be a long time then go back after 10mins if he was still crying give him a stroke say i love you night night and leave again, in the end I could say I'll give you 10 mins at nap time and he would sleep. Somthing that ds1 would never do and life with an afternoon nap is a happier one.
Also I would say bed side cot all the way they feel close to you which is best when they are young.
duke: the OP's baby is 7 weeks. Far too young for the suggestions you make, IMO. Ten minutes crying is a long, long time for a young baby (or any baby)
I used to rock DS to sleep (bfeed him to sleep when he was tiny but stopped bfeeding him at 10 weeks so that stopped then!) At about 5 months old we decided to try and teach him to settle himself and he just did it. We had a couple of rocky moments where we had to pat him, or sit with him until he fell asleep but it was much easier to break that "bad habit" than we thought.
We kind of did it gradually, i.e. rocked him until he was almost asleep then put him in the cot. Having some sleep associations, like a noise machine and special teddy helped too.
They'll do it when they're ready, but you can gently try and encourage it if you want. What happens if you put him down awake now? You could always try feeding him until he's just dropping off, then putting him down and patting and shhhing until he's properly asleep.
I second the suggestion for No Cry Sleep Solution. It's a great book.
Sorry I was misleading that was advice for when you try to break bad habits at later date. Soz.
Similar to Bramshott, I spent the first several months going with the flow - DS would come into our bed as and when, mostly fall asleep feeding etc. His behaviour changed naturally over time: as he got older and more aware, he would sometimes still be awake after the bedtime feed, in which case we'd have songs and cuddles etc.; likewise, the bigger and wrigglier he got the more he made it clear that actually he prefers being in his own bed for sleep. Now, at 10mo, he settles happily in his cot in his own room for naps and night times, (mostly) self-settles when he wakes in the night. He's just dropped his night feeds in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes he stills feeds to sleep at bedtime and that's fine. Occasionally I will feed him to sleep for a nap if he's really overtired or upset.
I followed his lead with all this and was surprised by how much I could read of the situation. Babies really do let you know when things have changed for them - I didn't believe it when people would say this before he was born.
I think I was a bit like you - happy to co-sleep etc to begin with but definitely not planning to do it long term. So I did whatever seemed to work best for my dds for first few months (carrying in a sling for naps, falling asleep feeding, co-sleeping for part of the night if it seemed like the easiest thing to do), and then from around 3/4 months (ish) started to try to get them to sleep in a cot for naps & drop off by themselves. It worked okay, and I never left them to cry (unless I absolutely had to because I had two children screaming simultaneously!) I was never that worried about feeding to sleep - I think it's a nice way to drop off (although it does become a bit of an issue when teeth appear and you need to clean them!)
It depends on the child how well it works, I guess, but I suppose what I'm saying is don't worry about it when he's so tiny - just enjoy your baby and relax, he's been in the habit of being carried all the time for 9 months already, so it's not as if you're getting him into a habit (good or bad) anyway!
Thank you so much for all that great advice.
We'll just carry on going with it and enjoying it.
Thanks for the reassurance...
Glad to hear it I miss being able to snuggle back down to sleep with DS in our bed - these days when we bring him in he just thinks it's playtime and starts pulling our hair
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