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Feed to sleep or teach Self Settling?

(10 Posts)
Cbell Sun 24-Apr-11 20:46:21

I am so tired. I have waffled. If you can bear to read this and offer some advice it would be greatly appreciated.

My DD is 4 months old and bedtimes are not going well and feel that I have just go it all wrong. We've had a bedtime routine since about 6weeks old. This has consisted of bath then BF in bedroom until asleep or occasionally drowsy. I sometimes have to return to settle her again but more and more now this involves putting her back on my breast.

Recently she wont allow my DH to resettle her with a cuddle. Cries until I come back and most often until the boobs are offered. She has also started to wake more during the night. In the past she would wake 2-3 times, feed and go straight back to sleep. However now she feeds and when I try and put her back in her crib wont settle and ends up in bed with me. Again you guessed it, she likes to have my boob in her mouth for a while before drifting back to sleep.

I don't know what to do. So...
1) Do you think 4 months is a good time to start teaching her to SS?
2) How, oh how do I teach her to do this?
3) Can you recommend any books or techniques (not CC)
4) Will she just grow out of this and start SS independently

Thank you for any help you might be able to offer

Iggly Sun 24-Apr-11 20:57:30

She will grow out of it. There's a massive developmental leap around this age which means all bets are off. I'd try putting her to bed earlier and keep the routine. It'll pass - if you're lucky, in a few days, if you're unlucky it'll take longer (I dare not say how long for feat of depressing you. For us it took until 6 months before things got consistently better).

Iggly Sun 24-Apr-11 20:59:13

I should qualify that by saying ds had reflux which I blame for a lot of things, including his shocking sleep!

PigeonPie Sun 24-Apr-11 21:13:25

She's only 4 months old and still tiny. Waking that many times in the night could mean she's on her 4-month growth spurt - have you noticed an increase in feeding during the day?

Give yourself time. I know it's hard in those first months, but it does get easier.

At night at that age (4 months), I was sitting in a chair in his room feeding during the night and remember sitting for ages while he lay over my shoulder waiting for the wind to come up and desperately wanting to get back to bed. Could it be that she's uncomfortable and that's why she won't settle?

This too does pass.

Btw, I fed DS2 to sleep till he was 26 months and he was much much easier to get to bed once he'd (finally) finished, so I'm glad I didn't worry too much about self settling etc.

I used the bedtime feed as a time for me to sit and nod off too though, and miss it slightly now (he's over 3 now).

mammainlove Tue 26-Apr-11 17:32:22

Hi, i would just say try and relax and go with it. I still feed my 10mo dd to sleep, and she shares a bed with us and wakes a few times in the night. I dont really mind as i have a very happy, chilled out baby and it takes minutes to get back to sleep anyway. There is a book which i've heard recommended lots, it's called 'The baby whisperer', there's a few in this series, one on sleep. Good luck xx

sedgiebaby Tue 26-Apr-11 18:55:47

Personally I wish I had not fed to sleep during this period as DD completely forgot how to self settle and just woke more and more and more and took longer to go off on the boob anyway. At 18 wks I started sleep training a mix of the No Cry Sleep Solution and Baby Whisperer ideas. By 22wks/5 months she was sleeping through (7-12 hour stretches) she is almost 7 months now. She recently cut her first tooth without interrupting her/my sleep which surprised me.

I stopped cold feeding to sleep and used other techniques to encourage baby to self settle, it meant using the same approach for every sleep/nap and every waking and it did in time work (about a month to resolve all problems including short naps not just night wakings, naps improved first then self settling for naps then night beddtime, then night wakings improved as the last thing) although it took a LOT of effort, I'm glad I did it now, for me waiting for her to grow out of it wasn't something I was willing to wait for partly because I felt so wrecked but also because I realised she needed much much more sleep than she was getting at one point.

What motivated me was a baby in my family who at 18 months is still up lots in the night and he is often quite 'red-eyed' with exhaustion along with mum and dad, and another friend who had 3 who didn't sleep through until 3.5yrs ould - I'm pretty sure in these cases it traces back to feeding to sleep. I guess some grow out of it quickly enough and some, dont.

Iggly Tue 26-Apr-11 19:29:31

That maybe true sedgie or it could be that your DD would have grown out of it anyway as 4-5 months is a terrible time for developmental leaps and then they grow out of it most of the time. I also don't think feeding to sleep = night wakings automatically as DS didn't consistently sleep through until 18 months and he could self settle no problem. I only say that because it sounds like you're blaming the
parents when some babies just are terrible sleepers for reasons beyond their control.

I actually found I didn't need to sleep train DS - just encourage him by giving him a chance to self settle then soothe if he really needed me. As he got older, I'd take a slightly more hands off approach.

sedgiebaby Tue 26-Apr-11 20:34:41

It might be a coincidence Iggly I guess I will never know, and I did not mean to 'blame' parents all babies are different aren't they and there are of course lots of reasons why babies do not sleep well. However at the time 'we' hit the 4 month regression (not that it was that great before!) there was a rather ginormous thread titled something like 'never ending 4 month sleep regression' which I found sobering and decided not to sit it out! In any case in my above response, I was merely giving my account and the OP was wondering whether to feed to sleep or encourage self settling. I know what I would if I had a second baby. I wish that I had at least used a variety of means to encourage baby to sleep during this period not relied solely on the boob.

It is true that my experience is really limited but I can't help but note that those I speak to who have long term sleep problems with their DC's have so very often habitually fed to sleep and relied on this to settle baby back to sleep, just as I did for a period. I have also noticed how often these same parents also later employed CIO to resolve problems, I think because they get desperate and time has gone on and now baby is sitting up and standing up and protesting and there appears little alternative - when it might have been addressed much earlier, perhaps easier with much less crying! Or maybe not who knows...

cbell I don't pretend to be any kind of authority - just conveying my own limited experience and observations, hope it might be helpful though.

Iggly Wed 27-Apr-11 07:00:44

Yes I hear what you're saying, but as someone who's baby has long term sleep problems, I haven't resorted to CIO and fed to sleep for a long time. I think if it were as easy as not feeding to sleep, there wouldn't be so many sleep "experts" with their books and advice out there.

pinksuziesunshine Fri 07-Oct-11 20:28:44

Hi, I know this was a post ages ago, but as a new user of mumsnet I couldn't believe this post as it was exactly what I'd have written about my 4 month old DD. I would love to know Cbell how you got on with this and whether you are still feeding to sleep or if you tried any sleep training?

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