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Failed at Controlled Crying - What next?

(17 Posts)
teacupnic Wed 20-May-15 15:19:53

Sorry if this belongs in Sleep, not sure exactly where to post this.

I've been having a difficult time with my 9 month old. He continues to wake up at night, often several times. Sometimes, he bounces around the cot, throwing his dummy and won't sleep. When he does settle (with some shushing and patting), he immediately awakes when I try to leave the room so I end up having to sit there for a good long while. He just cries for DH.

As I was sleep deprived and have had enough, I decided to try controlled crying. It isn't something I wanted to do or felt happy about but have read that it's the only option. I know other people who have had success with in similar situations as mine.

Frankly, I failed. I failed myself and my son as I couldn't listen to him cry. It was the most horrific experience, heart wrenching in fact. (This sounds pathetic I know). I ended up getting him out of the cot and hugging him to calm him, before sitting with him until asleep.

I'm such a terrible mother for not having a baby who cannot fall asleep on his own and now, I have no ideas left. I can't take many more nights without sleep but at the same time, out of options for helping him fall asleep alone. I can't let him cry but this can't continue indefinitely.

I'd really appreciate it if anyone has any ideas as to what else I could do. I need sleep and he needs it too!

SecretSquirrels Wed 20-May-15 15:31:50

You are not a failure. I loathe that phrase controlled crying and it never worked for me only ramped up the stress all round.
I had two like that. I decided sleep was a priority over everything else and so they slept with me. Result we all got sleep.
Mine are teens now and looking back at those days I think sleep deprivation can suck all the joy out of those early days. Do what works for you, not what you think you should do.

Littlef00t Wed 20-May-15 15:32:43

Sounds like gradual retreat might be an option?

Nolim Wed 20-May-15 15:39:08

I'm such a terrible mother for not having a baby who cannot fall asleep on his own

No you are not.

Sorry i had no advice. Cc worked for my baby but i know that it is heart breaking.

tinymeteor Wed 20-May-15 15:41:21

Poor you, that sounds really rough.

You haven't failed, you have just established that controlled crying isn't for you. Better to give up quickly than half-persist until you're both totally stressed.

In my experience 9 months is the absolute worst time for sleep as they are so wired from all the developmental stuff they are going through. Plus separation anxiety which pretty much peaks at that age.

It will get better, as he gets older. In the meantime do what you can to cope with the sleep deprivation, and just try to lay down good basics so you don't end up with poor sleep habits that date back to this period. Practical things that worked for me:

- a couple of weeks of being much stricter about daytime routine with all naps in the cot, in her sleeping bag. Once she got the idea of napping in the cot bedtime became easier too. We eased up on the routine again once she was sleeping better generally.

- sleep associations - I make a big show of closing the curtains for bedtime and nap times, and opening them when it's time to get up. That way if I go in at night but don't open the curtains she knows it's not getting up time.

- likewise we say "goodnight lights" as the lights go off at bedtime, and then it's straight into bed. After a couple of months of me repeating it pointlessly to myself, she caught on to he idea and now waves night night to the bedroom light!

- co-sleeping on the really rubbish nights when nobody gets any sleep otherwise. It's not for me generally but at 8-10 months I had to be flexible.

- cuddles at night if she needed them, but gradually doing more shushing and patting in the cot rather than picking her up

- dummies for sleep only. They had lost their impact as they were too available in the daytime, but now I leave them in the cot and when I put her down she finds one for herself. It's like a form of self soothing and gives me a moment to get out of the room.

Good luck, this bit is tough but it won't last forever.


NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Wed 20-May-15 15:47:42

You are not a failure for having a nine month old who doesn't sleep! My DD didn't go to sleep on her own until 18 months and she didn't go to sleep entirely on her own without me in the room until 2.
We didn't bother with the cot once she was in her own room - single mattress on the floor, you can lie down with them until they sleep, then sneak away. We sometimes had to go in a couple of times to resettle, if it was any time after midnight I would just get into bed with her and sleep there. Babies are biologically designed to need a caregiver near them, it's easier to go with it. BTW, DD is now 2.5 and sleeps 12 hours, happily says see you in the morning when we say good night.

Spidergirl2015 Wed 20-May-15 16:43:47

I'd say between 9-18 months is the worst time for sleep. I echo what others have said and just do what you can to get some sleep. For us we've put the cot against the side of our bed with the side off so it's like a huge bed and sleep like that. I tried to occupy my self whilst they are falling asleep so I'd go on my phone and on mumsnet or watch something with earphones in and have a bit of a relax. It's not worth battling over and only causes stress for all concerned!

squizita Wed 20-May-15 17:07:29

I try to do all the stuff Tinymeteor suggests.
When dd sleeps and I edge out, I found having reasonably loud white noise on since bath and pj time useful as it masks rustles. We use Ewan sheep and an app that fades after time. I found that key for "escape"!

Mind you they told me more sleep and less night milk would make my 8 month old eat more solids.
I feel a failure about that. sad
I think we all latch on to one thing to some extent.

teacupnic Wed 20-May-15 20:59:04

Thank you to all. I'm feeling reassured that it's okay to have 'failed'. To some extent my heart was never in using this method anyway so it's unsurprising it didn't go well. I got him to sleep the usual way tonight, no screaming necessary. We'll see how the rest of the night goes.

I think perhaps I do need a plan and I have thought about trying something like gradual retreat as suggested. Before I do this though I've been attempting to go back to basics a bit and think about first of all, what is waking him and then, why it's hard for him to sleep. In all honesty it probably is a bit of separation anxiety, and he's only been crawling and cruising for a couple of weeks, so, a lot of development happening.

Interestingly, he goes to sleep like an absolute angel for naps. Sleeping bag on, dummy in, 2 minutes of shushing with a hand on his tummy. And he rarely wakes as I leave the room. So am wondering what's different - am going to try some warmer clothes (could he be cold?) and perhaps invest in a nightlight (maybe he just doesn't like the dark?)

Popping some white noise on sounds like a good idea. We did use this as a newborn so it is familiar to him. I do need to have a bit more of a bedtime routine too. We do have one, but perhaps it needs to be clearer that it's bedtime.

And if I have a crappy night, I guess for now it's peppermint tea and MN while I wait for him to sleep. Could be worse I suppose!

squizita Wed 20-May-15 21:47:51

envy So envious of good naps. Mine requires pram, car or cushion on knee. Now she's down to 2 longer naps it means aching legs, petrol costs or full bladder.
Weirdly she's ok at night.

They just like to keep us on our toes. grin

nilbyname Wed 20-May-15 21:52:14

Honestly, I would say,

Co-sleep! Everyone wins, you won't make for a bad habit. Put your baby to bed in their own bed, then after the 1st/2nd wakings just being them
Into bed with you.

Sylviecat Wed 20-May-15 21:57:21

I advise co sleeping too. I did it when my ds was this age and it saved me. We all got a loads of sleep and I felt like a new woman! He is now 3 and sleeps happily in his own bed.
I too couldn't hack cc. Please don't think you've failed.

nilbyname Wed 20-May-15 22:00:08

Just to add my 1st ds didn't sleep for the 1st 2 years, it was hell! I put myself through all sorts of shit to try and get him to sleep.

Baby no 2, dd, we co slept. And then she slept through from 13 months. It was easy and perfect.

ChillySundays Thu 21-May-15 20:22:46

Not everything works for everyone. My 1st was a dream so a huge shock with my 2nd. I used to have to feed him to sleep and if I timed it wrong I was stuffed. He would wake in the night and have to come in with us. Struggled with controlled crying as my poor DD was beside herself as if was depriving her of sleep so we just carried on with letting him come into our bed.

At risk of depressing you we were still like this when he started school (summer baby so was only just 4 as opposed to almost 5) but at least we all got to have some sleep and suddenly one night he stayed in his bed!

Do what you feel is right for you not what you think others think you should be doing.

pookamoo Thu 21-May-15 20:31:51

We used co-sleeping from about 9 months (I think, it may have been sooner) with DD1.

Have you seen the Wonderweeks? It's great on development.

Be kind to yourself, you sound like a lovely mum and it is hard. so, so hard. flowers

LaurieMarlow Thu 21-May-15 20:43:37

With my DS, 5-9 months were hellish. It got better very, very quickly after that. I tried all the gentle sleep methods and they were a complete disaster. We turned to CC in desperation. We did it half heartedly for 2 nights and suddenly he was sleeping through - but to be perfectly honest, I don't think it was the CC, I reckon he was just ready to sleep at that point.

Looks like 9 months was the worst point for quite a few of us so fingers crossed things will get better for you quickly. If not, what about co-sleeping. I definitely would have gone down that route if DH was not dead against it.

Roseybee10 Thu 21-May-15 21:46:21

It's so hard. Please don't beat yourself up. We finally got my dd to
Sleep better at around 10 months after 6 months of waking every 45 mins. Then it all went balls up again at 12 months lol.

I'm probably echoing a lot of what other posters have said but the following worked for us.

- rapid return. I put her in the cot, let the room for two minutes, went back in, patted her back and said sleepy time, set alarm for three mins did the same and then 4 mins etc. she mostly just grumped and cried in a whingy way. If she ever cried in distress I went straight back in. She got that I was coming back and wasn't leaving her and it gave her the security she needed.
We sis this for naps too and it only took a few days before she was happily cooing when I left the room and no tears at all. (We tried gradual retreat, pick up put down etc but this made her more distressed).

- we bought a slumber buddy which played music and has a light show. She still has it for sleep at 2.5 now. When she woke during the night we would pop in and put that back on and she'd be out again in seconds. Now she's old enough to switch it on herself when she wakes.

- dummy only for sleep

- much more consistent bedtime routine. We had been getting lazy with Dds and we weren't getting her to bed early enough. We changed her bed time routine a bit, kept it to the same time every night and it really helped.

We're just about to hit the four month sleep regression with dd2 and I'm dreading it. X

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