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Sleep training a 15-month-old

(11 Posts)
IWillOnlyEatBeans Mon 16-May-11 13:12:03


This is my first post on Mumsnet!

My little boy is 15 months' old and totally unable to settle himself off to sleep. He sleeps in a double bed and I lie with him (for 10 mins at naptime, for up to an hour at bedtime!) before he will finally nod off. I don't really have to do anything else (he doesn't need cuddling or shushing) - although he will occasionally lose his gaga (a muslin!) which I have to retrieve.

Up until recently, he would then need either my husband or I to spend the whole night in with him (hence the double bed!) but he has now started sleeping through on his own most nights - hooray!

I would love him to fall asleep on his own without my help - for the purely selfish reason that I would get an hour of my evening back to spend with my husband. I would also be able to have the odd evening out with my friends smile

From what I can gather my options seem to be:

1. Doing nothing and hoping he'll grow out of it
2. Controlled crying (eek!)
3. Gradual withdrawal.

If anyone has any experience of using these techniques (even the first one, lol!) with a similar aged LO I'd love to hear about it. I know the basics of how they work but not the detail.

My LO is not yet mobile, so I don't have to worry about him climbing in and out of bed (yet).


IWillOnlyEatBeans Tue 17-May-11 16:15:49


Clarabumps Tue 17-May-11 16:36:40

sorry no one has posted but i would be inclined to go cold turkey- going to be harpooned for this, do the whole bed time routine and then say night night and leave him. eek! i know this seems really harsh but it is the fastest eay for him to learn that he can sleep without you. alternatively you can do the whole- sitting by the bed one night then edge your way out of the room increasing the distance from the bed every night. if ds gets up just reassure him with your voice telling him mummys here. You have to do something about it though as when they get bigger they will toddle and come and find you if they cant settle themselves.

with my ds he used to wake up in the middle of the night for no reason and wanted a bottle/ dummy etc. i ended up at the end of my rope with sleep depravation and decided that the only way to get him to settle was to let him settle himself. I bought a soft blanket that he'd be able to find easily in the cot..this was his soother so to speak. I then did the bedtime routine, bath-wee massage in low lights, jammies story all in his bedroom with low lights, calm soft voice etc. Then out him down and get a stopwatch or clock and time how long it takes for him to settle. Its crazy but when they are having a good old grumble it seems like forever- actually timing it helps! You can monitor how long it has been. Five minutes seems like an age but in real life its only five minutes, If they grumble for 15 minutes i go in and check they havent pooed etc or give them a cuddle and back down to sleep. you will find that the time they take to settle does decrease. the main thing with this techniue is to be consistent! dont give in..its hard but its so worth it when they go to their bed and fall asleep!
The gradual withdrawal works along the same kind of principles although instead of lying with them in bed you are sitting on the floor next to their bed and move away from the bed everynight, i havent tried this one myself but i think supernanny recommends it.
How is your son during the times you have left him to go to sleep himself. Does he get really distressed? crying or moaning? what is his personality like?

bubbles12 Wed 18-May-11 08:19:47

Hi there, I did the gradual withdrawal thing with DD1 but it does take a while longer.
I did small steps, starting with just sitting a rubbing her back, then just sitting next to her, then nearer the door and eventually leaving the room. At this stage I went back in every min or so to reassure her for a few nights until the gaps got longer and in the end I just got to the stage where she goesin bed and I go up after 10 mins or whenever i remember to check. She is often asleep by then but likes to know I will be back!

Took a while but it was all I could cope with. Like Clarabumps said, I guess it depends on the personality of your little one and how quickly you want it sorted.

Having said this I seem to be going with option 1-doing nothing, with DD2. Not working though! Will have to do something eventually I guess.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Wed 18-May-11 11:12:02


I think gradual withrdrawl might be all I can cope with. DS is extremely strong willed and I am not, so CC might not be the best option!

bubbles, how long did it take? And how long did you do each 'stage' for before moving onto the next?

Clarabumps Thu 19-May-11 16:29:26

you know your wee one pick what you think you can actually do and stick to.. i had just reached the end of my rope and had to have it sorted or he might have been flung out of a window..kidding! no really though..its definately worth doing whatever way you can as that extra hour a night is really worth it! Best of luck and let me know how you get on! xxx

bubbles12 Thu 19-May-11 19:22:01

Hi there, I did each stage for a few nights. There was a stage when i was sitting by the door and she would put up a bit of a protest, I would just wait a min or so and they go and lie her down again.

I did this stage for way too long as she was absolutely fine but I still sat there like a lemon! In the end I said to her that I would wait outside and come in every and check on her lots. The first night, I literally shut the door, counted to ten and then went back in. I then went back in every min or two to just rub her back a bit and then leave.

It was at this atge that I thought she would really protest but in all honesty it was not that bad at all. Bit of crying but hardly at all.

I also told her what I would be doing before she went to bed so she knew if I was going to be sitting next to her or whatever.

Wish you loads of luck - let us know how you get on. x

bubbles12 Thu 19-May-11 19:23:21

ha ha, have not actually answered your question! Um, did each stage for about 3 nights I think and then moved on to the next stage when she was fine with it.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Fri 20-May-11 12:21:25

Brilliant, thanks for all your help.

I am going to start tonight!! I'll sit at the end of the bed rather than lay down with him.

I'll let you know how we get on!! Eek!

bubbles12 Fri 20-May-11 19:23:17

Thinking of you and hoping all is going well.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Wed 29-Jun-11 21:54:36

Just a quick update, in case anyone else is in the same boat.

DS is now self-settling like a dream and I have my evenings back! smile

We tried gradual retreat but it was a bit of a disaster, so we reverted to the CC/PUPD combo we used when DS was 6 months old and it worked a treat! We started on a Monday and by Weds he was going down without a peep.

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