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To stop rocking my 14 month old to sleep or not?

(44 Posts)
Videog1rl Tue 01-Oct-13 05:28:09

I have a 14 month old son & have had sleep issues with him since 6 months. Before then he slept well and went off to sleep on his own easily. Myself and my partner were strongly of the opinion he should not be left to cry under 6 months and always went to him when he did. The trouble started when he stopped being fed back to sleep in the night and going down after his feed at the start of the night around 6 months, by this point we had moved him into his own room, and unfortunately he was able to stand and to roll over onto his front but not back again so he would get stuck and need assistance getting back to sleep.

This was when we started to rock and walk him to sleep as it was the only way to settle him. He would scream when put down or if you sat down holding him. We have continued I rock him to sleep for naps and bedtime until now. He will close his eyes on my shoulder and I'm able to put him down after 2 minutes when he will normally fuss or grizzle a bit and go to sleep. He will also go to sleep in the buggy, carrier or car seat. I am still breast feeding and feed him before sleep but do not let him fall asleep at the breast anymore. I have recently night weaned and this has helped with the number of wake ups per night, and sometimes he will sleep through now (11 hours 40 minutes is the record!) but when he does wake it can be 2 hours to get him back to sleep.

We have a bedtime routine of boob, bath, book, lullaby, boob, cuddle/rock. Whenever I try to change the order of the routine to bring the feed before the story for example it doesn't work & cutting out or reducing the rocking results in hysteria!

He is obviously pretty heavy now & strong and I am having back pain and often get head butted by him flinging himself around in the night and am exhausted. Because it seems to have gone in phases of being easy and incredible difficult time seems to have flown by and I can't quite believe I'm still rocking him to sleep at 14 months! My arm muscles are pretty good ;)

All the sleep books I've read offer advice which has never seemed to fit, either they assume if you are breast feeding then you are co sleeping or if you are rocking to sleep the baby will be under 6 months old
& immobile. We have 'given him the opportunity' to self soothe (infrequently out of exhaustion generally!) and it has been very distressing and never resulted in him going to sleep.....partly because when we've tried it my OH has gone in and picked him up having not been able to take it!

I would love to hear from some Mums who have opted for the soft approach to night parenting & come out the other side! Did you rock your baby to sleep & it eventually somehow got easier?! Or have you got a toddler or child with sleep issues still?! Has anyone kindly 'sleep trained' a wilful toddler who likes to climb and needs motion to get to sleep?! How?! Where do I start?!? Please share your insight!!

Thanks for reading! Sorry it's a bit epic...

sparklyskyy Tue 01-Oct-13 07:00:55


I'm sorry I don't have any advice but have posted similar about my 8 month old sad And I know I'm going to be in the same place as you when he's 14 months.

I've searched and searched online and I cannot seem to find any softer approaches. I'm ALWAYS led to cry it out which I don't want to do as he becomes inconsolable and is horrendous.

For me I can't even rock him to sleep anymore because he's too heavy and strong so flings himself about. The only thing that works if he doesn't fall asleep with his first night feed is waiting a couple of hours and feeding him again. Not good!

Good luck and I hope you get some answers.

peanutbuttersarnies Tue 01-Oct-13 07:21:02

I was in your position until recently. I also posted asking if i should continue rocking him.
I tried various approaches trying to get him to settle in cot but i didnt leave him. He got upset pretty quick reaching through the bars to try and get me to pick him up cuddle him. He also crashed sround in cot and ended up hitting his head.
In the end i came up with a completely unorthodox solution. I climbed into cot with him. I sm lucky its a strurdy cot. I lay down and pretended to be asleep. And cuddled him. He did cry a little but not much. Took about an hour first time. If he got very upset i lsy him down with a cuddle and whuspered nursery rhynes really quietly til he calmed down.
I think this approach worked at about 16 mo.
I suppose you can only do this if you have a very sturdy cot though. Alternatively you could try s msde up bed on floor?

Dancealot Tue 01-Oct-13 07:27:05

My little girl was exactly the same. When she got too heavy to rock we used to sit in a chair and read books, then get her to settle on us and fall asleep, transferring her to her cot when asleep. As she got bigger this changed to lying next to her on the floor by the cot till she went to sleep. Finally, when she turned 3, we talked her into going asleep on,her own!!

fanjobiscuits Tue 01-Oct-13 07:28:21

No cry sleep solution and nap solution books have some more bit by bit approaches to sleep training - may be worth a look.

Videog1rl Tue 01-Oct-13 07:39:12

Ha peanutbuttersarnies I have seriously considered the climbing in on a few occasions but haven't, I think it would take my long til you didn't have to climb in?!
We have been following the advice in the NCSS as much as we could, and that's how I got where we are now. I cannot m

Videog1rl Tue 01-Oct-13 07:42:17

(Sorry, phone!) ....cannot move to getting him down awake.
Dancalot this sounds like a possible future for us...
How did you deal with waking in the night though?

peanutbuttersarnies Tue 01-Oct-13 07:48:13

He is 18 mo now and i am still climbing in! I havent tried staying out yet. It only takes 10 or 20 mins now. But i still feel he needs the cuddle. If he is over tired he is quitr twitchy and cuddling him helps to calm him.
I have to put a blanket over my head though otherwise he pulls my hair and pokes at my nose and eyes.
Its all a bit ridiculous really!
I dont want to be resposible for breaking your cot though. Is it a cot bed? I think the ones that convert to toddler beds are quitr sturdy. I made that decision cos my older ds has a toddler which i sit on to read him books. I am about 10 stone btw.

peanutbuttersarnies Tue 01-Oct-13 07:49:44

Also. I am still feeding in the night to get him back to sleep. That is my next bit to try and tackle!

Videog1rl Tue 01-Oct-13 09:18:26

I suppose I've been trying to work towards something I'm happy to sustain so perhaps climbing in the cot is not the solution (though it is also a toddler bed & I definitely wouldn't blame you if it broke!!).
I guess the other question is if you put your baby down asleep do they still sleep through eventually or will you always have to deal with the wake ups until they can go to sleep without your help? He is currently waking up to twice a night, and that's a massive improvement on where we were even a month ago which I'm putting down to night weaning but perhaps is an age/development thing too?

spritesoright Tue 01-Oct-13 20:59:09

I was going to suggest a rocking chair as well. We have a comfy one and I still rock DD to sleep in it for her naps (she's 2). She will go to sleep in her cot at night but I have to stay and hold her hand. DH has been quite successful doing a big rigmarole that includes saying goodnight, kissing her bears, putting her blanket on and the repeatedly saying 'okay goodnight, see you in the morning!'
Much to my surprise she will just then go to sleep on her own for him but she knows I'm a soft touch and insists on me staying til she falls asleep.
They do get better over time at getting off to sleep on their own.
TBH 2 minutes sounds great.

spritesoright Tue 01-Oct-13 21:01:54

In answer to your last post, dd mostly sleeps through now I've stopped breast feeding her and seems to be able to get back to sleep on her own unless she's had a nightmare.

lurcherlieber Tue 01-Oct-13 22:41:17

i rocked my 9mo dd to sleep til about one month ago. until 5 months old she took all of her naps on me with lots of rocking.

big difference in ages but i tried to put focus onto different things so the 'me' part or rocking part werent an integral part if her falling asleep anymore.

i first started having a musical lullaby toy thing playing while rocking and then allowed to sleep on me. then i started to put down once she was in very deep sleep so she got used to waking up in cot. this made her naps very short but i persevered and they got longer. once they were a decent length i then stopped rocking as soon as dd seemed to stop being as fidgety but still had lullaby toy playing in b/g. i then started to just hold dd really tight while toy played music and eventually i would go into room, lie dd in cot and play music while stroking hair. now i leave straight after a kiss goodnight.

its been very gradual but no crying involved and it seemed stress free! my dd still wakes in the night, sometimes for her dummy (last crutch which i know will be the hardest to get rid of) and sometimes because she has pulled herself up or crawled about and cant get comfy again. i just lie her down and she goes off to sleep again. im touching wood as i post this but i think were past all that now. i hope you find a way out of the rocking if you definitely dont want to continue it smile

anothernamechangerreally Tue 01-Oct-13 22:53:21

I haven't read the previous replies (I know - sorry!) but have you thought about a sleep consultant? We used Ann Caird and have gone from 7 waking a every night, fed to sleep each time to just one waking now - very close to sleeping through!!! I know your issue is rocking to sleep but this lady is amazing, I'm sure she could help.

She is a gentle attachment-y consultant. I would thoroughly recommend her!!!

roweeena Wed 02-Oct-13 10:27:34

You must be exhausted. I'm going to get a flaming I know but please don't write off CC. It is such a relief having a child that you can read a book to, put in a cot, wave goodnight, switch off the light and close the door. As long as you stick to your guns and be consistent it takes 3 nights.

I tried other 'gentler' methods (albeit in a younger baby) of gradual withdrawal etc and my DS actually cried more - every time I tried to leave him!! TBH I think it is madness that people are suggesting you climb in the cot every night with a 14 month old - but different people have different level of tolerances to sleep problems.

Think of it your teaching him a life skill of being able to fall asleep on his own not that you are being cruel - you, baby and DH will be much happier for it! The key is to stick to your guns and be consistent - it really will take less than a week

MrsOakenshield Wed 02-Oct-13 10:43:42

just to say cry it out and controlled crying are not the same thing, and I would be surprised if anywhere advocated cry it out these days. Controlled crying you can adapt to however you want, timings can be 1,2,4,5 minutes with never more than 5 minutes crying. Others might do 5,10,15 minutes. It's up to you. We did CC with never any more than 5 minutes crying (and we never allowed it to get even a tiny bit hysterical, I would call it more like controlled wailing). We also soothed by lots of sshhhhing and stroking, not picking up.

I must say I think a PP has it right - if they know you are a 'soft touch' they will try it on, with someone they know isn't they won't - which of course means that the ability is there. A 14-month-old is not a newborn.

I agree it's a life skill, and one that will benefit you all. (Though I have to hold my hand up and admit that I can't be doing with sleep martyrs - sorry!)

In our area there is a sleep consultant called Nicola Watson who many people have used to great effect.

MinesAPintOfTea Wed 02-Oct-13 19:13:57

I lay on the floor by ds's cot and did pilates whilst he thrashed. It seemed to calm him a little and now he can only go to sleep a alone in his room (unless he drops off during bf)

Videog1rl Wed 02-Oct-13 22:48:42

The rocking chair is a good idea, we have not had the space but we are moving soon so it could be an option.
I have not been com

Videog1rl Wed 02-Oct-13 22:57:41

Sorry the buttons jump around!
I've have not been completely against CC and have experimented with some of the methods in the baby sleep solution but OH is not on board with it, finds it very distressing and will just go & cuddle him. Which sets up the whole playing up for different people. He's not gone to sleep on his own in the cot from awake ever though for anyone.
I am not concerned with the time it takes to get him to sleep in the first place, it is just the getting him back to sleep when he wakes as I can't just lie him down, I'm up with him for an hour in the night pacing and holding him sometimes more than once, which is not sustainable!
It all sounds encouraging, I know it will get easier! I really d

Videog1rl Wed 02-Oct-13 22:57:56

I really don't have the money to spend

Videog1rl Wed 02-Oct-13 23:00:47

Sorry!!!! Drivig me mad....

I can't afford a sleep expert at the moment. I think I'm also worried they will tell me a lot of things I already know or don't want to do or it won't work - but I'm sure it would be money well spent if I had it!

girliefriend Wed 02-Oct-13 23:15:29

See this is where I draw the parenting line, I will do a lot for my dd but i would not stand and rock a heavy 14month old to sleep every night!!

My attitude to bedtime has always been I will do everything possible to facilitate a peaceful bedtime, so always had a routine in place (bath, baby massage, p.js, bf, into sleeping bag, soothing music on) but the actual settling to sleep has to be something they can do!! Its a life skill and I don't understand anyone who writes off cc as imo you are doing your lo a disservice by not helping them learn an important skill.

Anyway sorry gone off on a bit of a rant, my advice would be to keep doing what you are doing but instead of rocking then place in the cot in a dark room, put some calming music on and leave for 5 min intervals, if this is too hard then sit next to the cot and reassure at 5 min intervals. Its hard to see your baby cry but in the long run once they have worked out how to settle themselves they will thank you!!

Videog1rl Thu 03-Oct-13 05:57:07

Okay girliefriend - but what exactly do you do at 5 minute intervals? My son will stand in the cot and scream and grab at me and will trash violently around if I lay him back down, getting up again immediately.
I have tried the sitting by the cot and pretending to go to sleep, and holding his hand through the bars he is calm until he realises he needs to go to sleep & can't then gets upset, then hysterical. I have persisted for an hour & a half lying him back down, not giving him eye contact, shushing and was then pursuaded to pick him up by OH, which made me feel like I'd been torturing him for nothing sad
I have left him to see if he'll go to sleep on his own & gone back in to try & calm him before leaving again and he would get more upset when I came in & didn't pick him up. I know part of it is being consistent and I don't have a plan in my head I can stick to once he's upset and crying for me!
I am not able to put him down in the night unless he is in a deep sleep so it's incredibly draining. I do think I've arrived at a point where we need to do something different but I don't want to have come this far & then break his trust in me/adults.

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 03-Oct-13 06:55:55

Try cuddling to sleep without rocking? Then move into hooding hand through the bars, lying next to him then finally just leaving.

I had a policy of cuddling until he got wriggly, then into the cot (whilst I sat nearby) until he cried, then cuddled again.

Basically giving the choice of sit quietly and still in my arms and go to sleep or be in his cot and only have his favourite blanket and a small soft toy until he went to sleep.

And have you tried a pillow? We really turned a corner when ds first got a pillow at about 14 months.

girliefriend Thu 03-Oct-13 09:36:18

He sounds a bit like my dd who actually needed to go to sleep on her own, the more I went in and tried to reassure the more wound up she would get. I do understand how hard it is but I think if the rocking to sleep isn't working for you then you are going to have to toughen up a tiny bit!!

He will eventually get the hang of it - it is extremely unlikely you will be rocking a 5 yo to sleep!!

I would do as you were doing and keep going, support him as much as you can in going to sleep but decide that whatever happens you will not revert to rocking.

Does he sleep much in the day?

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