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Can someone explain self settling to me please?

(52 Posts)
Annarose2014 Tue 31-Jan-17 09:34:52

DD is 18 weeks and has woken every two hours for the past two months. This past week she's been waking every hour. I am a zombie.

But I think I should be trying to teach her to self settle. I never taught it with my first and he was a shit sleeper for 18 months. I want to foster better habits this time.

But I am so tired I don't know what I'm doing, so can someone walk me through it?

Atm every time she wakes at night I feed to sleep and she's back asleep within 5 mins. But I don't think she's all that hungry tbh since she's just fed an hour before. And during the day she goes 2.5 hrs between feeds.

Sometimes in a fit of determination I try to settle her back down with the dummy but she just thrashes around and eventually I give in and give her the boob and she's out like a light.

So I honestly don't know how else to do it? Can someone talk me through the process during a full night?

Sairelou Tue 31-Jan-17 09:56:02

Sorry you are having a tough time at the moment, we've all been there and I can say it will get better. Do you have anyone about to look after baby while you sleep for a bit? Do you co-sleep?

18 weeks is still very young. Babies are meant to wake in the night to feed and keep their blood sugar levels stable and to protect against SIDS. Sleep training of any kind is not recommended before 1year.

The reason your baby is crying for you is because she misses you. At the moment you are her whole world and when she wakes up she is scared because you aren't there. By comforting her it is telling her that you will always be there for her when she is upset or scared.

I can highly recommend the Facebook group Can I Breastfeed In It? Off Topic Discussion for support. There is no one on the group who wouldn't have been in the same position and everyone is supportive of each other and friendly.

Annarose2014 Tue 31-Jan-17 10:23:25

Co-sleeping with a sidecar cot yes.

So I shouldn't even try to do anything?

I think may cry.

OrangeJulius Tue 31-Jan-17 11:47:10

Can she come in to bed with you properly for a while? When DD was about this age we were able to feed lying down, so all I had to do was turn over to feed and I didnt have to wake fully. If she woke a lot, I wouldnt feed her but just leave her cuddled beside me and she would have to get herself back to sleep. This was the start of her self-settling. Sorry if you are already doing these things, sounds like you have it really rough tbh.

YoJesse Tue 31-Jan-17 11:57:47

I ended up doing self settling with ds and it was horrible for both of us but eventually got some results. I used to post on here crying and reporting as I did it!

He was about 5 or 6 months I think. Too early and it can mess up your milk supply if youre breastfeeding. I did 1 minute out, then 3 then 5 etc.
The results never lasted long and in the end I gave up.

2014newme Tue 31-Jan-17 12:02:20

I used to put my babies in the cot at naptime or bedtime awake and they would go to sleep by themselves. That's what self settling means to me. I didn't feed them to get them to sleep I am not sure that giving food for reason of comfort is wise. Comfort eating isn't a great thing to encourage
Good luck

2014newme Tue 31-Jan-17 12:03:35

Sorry for an 18 week old you of course should feed whenever they need it, i read 18 month old 😂

TheMasterNotMargarita Tue 31-Jan-17 12:07:33

*Comfort eating isn't a great thing to encourage*
Hahaha I thought I'd heard it all but seriously? confused

2014newme Tue 31-Jan-17 12:09:44

Its not though is it?
I don't mean the op but doubtless many kids overeat through parents equating food to comfort

Annarose2014 Tue 31-Jan-17 12:10:11

I can't have her in the bed with me as we tried that for ages and I just got NO sleep. So the sidecar cot trick was a great solution. I slither over to the cot, curl myself up in it and feed her where she lies, then slither back.

The only problem with the sidecar is that DH can't settle her that easily during the night as it's physically awkward for the person not lying next to it.

It means I do wake up fully in order to slither over but at least I'm lying down and she doesn't waken for long. However it's the waking every hour thing that's killing me.

She's not cold, she's not particularly hungry....I don't get it.

Tbh today I have seriously contemplated giving up breastfeeding. I fail to see what it's done except close a trap around me. She hasn't even been healthy - she's had several bouts of bronchiolitis and a constant runny nose. Seems to me she'd have been just the same with formula and I'd have had an easier time of it.

Orangebird69 Tue 31-Jan-17 12:11:33

There is a sleek regression around 4 months. And 18 weeks is way too young to try and implement any kind of self settling/sleep training. Power on through OP. It will pass.

Orangebird69 Tue 31-Jan-17 12:11:46


Orangebird69 Tue 31-Jan-17 12:12:20

Oops! Sleep, not sleek!

girlelephant Tue 31-Jan-17 12:12:26

Have you tried white noise or other music? My DS has a Eddie the Elephant nightlight which he loves. He likes the heartbeat setting and the colour blue to sleep. For him that signals bed time in his crib. I also tried white noise but he reacts better to that when he's teething rather than sleepy.

Remember 18 weeks is tiny and there are hundreds of threads on here from parents with much older babies who are exhausted just like you. My DS started sleeping through at 10 weeks with the exception of teething/colds, I know I'm incredibly lucky but it was luck and him being ready rather than anything else that I did.

As he sleeps in a cot next to you have you tried making sure the sheet a comforter toy next to him smell strongly of you? I would mimic anything that works well during the day for his naps.

Are you able to go to bed earlier and have your partner do an evening or nighttime feed after you express? That may help by giving you some solid hours of sleep as you mush be exhausted flowers

Annarose2014 Tue 31-Jan-17 12:18:35

We have Ewan the Sheep who is worn out poor thing - we are eating the batteries as often he is effectively on all night, every hour.

She goes to bed at around 7.30. Always wakes at 8.30. Often wakes at 9.30. Always wakes at 10.15.

Then I can get till 12.30. Then 1.30 or 2.30 on a great night. Then 3.30.

Then the next wake up is bad, the 4.30/5 one. Often struggle to get her to sleep after that one. That's the one where I cry.

Then up for the day at 6/6.30. DH takes her up at this point to give me a break but then I have to get up with my 2 year old at 7.

TheMasterNotMargarita Tue 31-Jan-17 12:22:17

No its not. But in this context we are talking about an 18 week old baby needing comfort to go to sleep.
Not weaning on plates of chips or Greggs sausage rolls.
Op you have my sympathies it sounds rough but it will get better.
Fwiw my baby won't take a dummy so we co-sleep and he bobs on and off through the night as required.
He's 5 months now and we have nights when it's every 2 hours but more often now he's going longer.
They like the warmth and smell of you near them. It will pass.

TheMasterNotMargarita Tue 31-Jan-17 12:24:01

Sorry epic x post. Not helpful.

Duckyneedsaclean Tue 31-Jan-17 12:33:55

Basically you have to get her used to being put down while awake. I find it easier to do this during the day, then move onto the night.

Then also not pick her up /feed her as soon as she makes a noise - she may go back to sleep.

With the ff vs bf - they still have to be settled, or settle themselves - so you'd have the same issues.

I've got 6 week old twins, they have learnt to self settle earlier than my singletons through necessity - I feed one then put them down to feed the other. They might cry for 5 minutes or so, but I know they're safe & not hungry.

Annarose2014 Tue 31-Jan-17 12:43:10

Formula babies dont tend to wake every hour though. I had to put DS on formula at 3 months for CMPI and I distinctly remember at 4 months he was waking twice, maybe three times. The problem with him is that he didn't sleep through till 18 months but in hindsight he was never this wakeful after we started the formula.

But that is my only alternative if she is too young for self settling. Cos I can't just cross my fingers and hope this will pass. With BF babies there's absolutely no guarantee that it will pass as they sleep so lightly. This could go on for weeks if not months.

Floridasunset Tue 31-Jan-17 12:43:45

I've never done any sleep training but my dd did start settling of her own accord.
She stopped falling asleep after a feed so I would cuddle her to sleep but when I put her down she would wake up and I would pick her up again to cuddle to sleep and repeat.
As she wasn't crying when she woke up I tried leaving her in her basket and she got herself to sleep. So I wasn't helping trying to cuddle her to sleep every time grin

Hopefully your dd is just going through the 4 month sleep regression and needs more comfort from you during it.

Duckyneedsaclean Tue 31-Jan-17 12:59:32

If you're not opposed to formula & think it might help her sleep for a longer stretch, why not give one bottle when she wakes at 10.15 or midnight?

Your husband could do it, and you could catch up on sleep?

ODog Tue 31-Jan-17 12:59:44

I swapped DS to formula at around this point for the reasons you outline above. It made NO difference. He didn't want feeding as much through the night but he still woke up just as much. Problem was I had one less tool to get him back to sleep and ended up often rocking him on the landing. Plus I had to make 2-3 bottles a night which he didn't start to drop until 8/9mo.

Comfort eating and comfort breastfeeding are also two very different things. Please don't think you are doing anything wrong by allowing your TINY baby to comfort feed from you. You are doing what is biologically normal and good.

lampfromikea Tue 31-Jan-17 13:00:24

OP the whole 'formula babies sleep better' is only anecdotal. It may have seemed that way with your DS, but that could also have just been down to his individual sleep needs/patterns.

Example: I know three people with babies at the same age (10 months).
Baby A is still breastfed (refuses a bottle) and was sleeping through happily most nights by 4.5/5 months.
Baby B was breastfed up to 8 months and, at 10 months, still wakes almost every 2 hours.
Baby C was formula fed and has never gone through a night without waking up at least 3 times. And has a habit of being awake from 1-4am most nights.

It's different for every baby. I'm not suggesting you continue based on that, though, as you are feeling trapped by breastfeeding and that is going to impact on your mental health (as well as the lack of sleep). I just wanted to give you an idea of how the formula babies sleep idea is a myth!

SleepFreeZone Tue 31-Jan-17 13:04:56

I will only allow DS to self settle for daytime naps and in the evening. At night he will just bellow and work himself into a frenzy of left. At least in the day I can watch him in the monitor and I can tell if he is just having a moan or whether he just ain't going to sleep.

Just to add I think I waited until he was in his own bed at 6 months before I thought about self settling. Before that he was in a crib side cot and he basically just never slept, it was torture.

SleepFreeZone Tue 31-Jan-17 13:05:49

He is breast fed but so was his brother and he slept well.

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